Many criminal defendants charged with DWI offenses are eligible for pre-trial intervention (PTI). Not all DWI defendants qualify, however, and if an application for PTI is denied, it can be difficult to obtain a reversal. In a recent New Jersey opinion in a case in which the defendant was charged with DWI and assault by auto, the court explained the appellate process in cases in which a defendant is denied PTI. If you are accused of a DWI offense, you should confer with a trusted New Jersey DWI defense attorney to evaluate your options.
The Defendant’s Charges
It is alleged that the defendant was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle. A person who witnessed the accident told the investigating officers that the defendant’s car was weaving all over the road and crossed the double yellow line before striking the other vehicle. The driver and passenger of the other vehicle both sustained injuries. The defendant was confused and disoriented at the scene but eventually admitted to consuming alcohol. She submitted to a blood test, which revealed her BAC to be three and a half times the legal limit.
It is reported that the defendant was charged with fourth-degree assault by auto and DWI. She then applied to the PTI program, but her application was denied. The denial letter indicated that the circumstances surrounding the accident, including the injuries suffered by the victims, and the victims’ strong objection to the defendant’s application, were the grounds for denial. The defendant appealed the rejection, but her appeal was denied. She then pleaded guilty to her charges and, following her conviction, appealed.
Appeal of Denial of PTI
On appeal, the defendant argued in part that the rejection of her PTI application was improper. The court disagreed with the defendant’s assertions and affirmed the lower court’s ruling on the matter. The court explained that an appellate court’s scope of review is severely limited with regards to a prosecutor’s decision to deny a PTI application.
Specifically, in order for a PTI rejection to be overturned, a defendant must establish via clear and convincing evidence that the decision demonstrates an abuse of discretion that is patent and gross. Further, the court described a patent and gross abuse of discretion as one that is so far from upholding the goals of PTI that justice and fundamental fairness requires the intervention of the courts. The court found that there was no evidence of an abuse of discretion in this case and affirmed the trial court ruling.
Meet with a Skillful New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney
People charged with DWI are often apprehensive about their rights, but in some cases, they may be able to avoid a conviction or significant penalty. If you are charged with a first offense DWI, you may be able to assert numerous defenses, and it is critical to meet with an attorney. The skillful New Jersey DWI defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are dedicated to defending people charged with driving while intoxicated, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly to help you seek the best outcome possible. We can be reached through our form online or at 877-450-8301 to schedule a meeting.