Court Discusses Rights Afforded to New Jersey DWI Defendants

Many people think that if they are charged with a DWI, a conviction is inevitable. DWI defendants have numerous rights, however, f their rights are violated during the course of a DWI investigation, the state may be prohibited from introducing evidence found during the investigation against the defendant. The Superior Court of New Jersey recently discussed what constitutes a violation of the right against unreasonable search and seizure and the right to Miranda warnings in a DWI case. If you are a resident of New Jersey currently charged with a DWI, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable New Jersey DWI defense attorney regarding your case.

Factual Background

Allegedly, in April 2017, the defendant arrived at the home he previously shared with his estranged wife with damage to his car. The defendant’s wife called the police and reported the defendant entered the home through the basement, was slurring his words, smelled of alcohol, and appeared to be intoxicated. The police arrived at the home, and the wife permitted them to enter. Once inside, they found the defendant, who smelled of alcohol, had difficulty walking. In addition his speech was slurred.

It is alleged that the police asked the defendant to exit the home, which he did. Once outside, the defendant admitted to drinking alcohol and stated that he came to the home to finish a project. The police then asked the defendant to submit to a field sobriety test. The defendant complied but was unable to complete the test. The police arrested the defendant for driving while intoxicated (DWI).  A subsequent blood test revealed his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be .29%.

It is reported that the defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of his blood test and his statements, arguing they violated his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. The court denied his motion. The defendant entered a guilty plea but specifically preserved his right to appeal the court’s denial of his motions to suppress the evidence found during the entry into his home and the statements he made without Miranda warnings. He appealed his conviction.

A DWI Defendant’s Rights

The Fourth Amendments of both the state and federal constitutions protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure. A search conducted without a warrant is presumed to be invalid under both constitutions. There are exceptions to the presumption that a warrantless search is invalid, such as when a party either expressly or impliedly consents to the search.

Notably, a third party’s consent is binding on a defendant, if the third-party is authorized to provide consent. If the third-party lives with the defendant, he or she may have the authority to allow a search to be conducted in a shared area. In the subject case, the court found that the police were granted valid consent to conduct the search by the defendant’s wife. Thus, the search did not violate the defendant’s rights.

Speak with a Seasoned New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney

If you live in New Jersey and are faced with DWI charges it is prudent to speak with a seasoned New Jersey DWI attorney regarding your case.  The skilled attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will work diligently to help you pursue the best legal result possible under the unique facts of your case. You can contact our offices at (877) 328-0980 or through our form online to schedule a confidential and free meeting to discuss your case.


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