Being charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be extremely stressful, and rightfully so. DWI charges can have far-reaching negative consequences for an individual’s life, including that individual’s personal and professional reputation. If you or someone close to you has been charged with a DWI, it is important to reach out to a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney who can help. While each DWI case is unique, the trial process in each case is typically the same.
In New Jersey, the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) involves an individual with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater getting behind the wheel. The BAC is different for commercial drivers as well as drivers under the age of 21.
DWI trials take place in the municipal court in which the DWI ticket was issued. A municipal court judge will preside over the trial and make the ultimate decision regarding the defendant’s innocence or guilt. It is essential to be aware that defendants charged with drunk driving in New Jersey are not entitled to a jury trial.
Once the trial starts, both the prosecutor and the defense attorney may give opening statements. Once both sides have made their opening statements, both sides question and cross-examine prosecution witnesses as well as defense witnesses. The prosecution will always call the arresting officer to the stand, and that officer will testify about what happened on the night of the arrest. Evidence of a breath, blood, or urine test is typically also submitted at this point. The defense may also call witnesses, such as an independent expert, to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. In some cases, the defense lawyer may even have the driver testify in the case.
At trial, the State bears the burden of proving the elements of the DWI charge beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard of proof in the legal system. ”Reasonable doubt” refers to a sincere and sensible uncertainty regarding the guilt of the defendant after a careful consideration of all of the evidence. Reasonable doubt can arise based on evidence or lack of evidence. Put simply, proof of this standard should leave the judge with a strong belief the charges against the defendant are true. If the judge determines that the State proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, he or she will issue a guilty verdict.
The State also has the responsibility of establishing any prior offenses. Additionally, if the defendant raises a defense, the burden remains on the State to rebut that defense.
A DWI can severely hinder your life. If you have been charged with a DWI, hiring an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney can make all of the difference in your case. With extensive experience, we know how to navigate DWI trials and protect our clients’ rights at every step of the way. You can trust that we will thoroughly examine the facts of your case and determine a legal strategy accordingly. For more information on your legal rights and options, call us at 877-450-8301 or reach out to us online.
More Blog Posts:
Vehicular Homicide and Drunk Driving in New Jersey
Riding a Motorcycle Under the Influence of Alcohol in New Jersey