In some cases in which a defendant is charged with a DWI crime, it makes sense to enter a guilty plea. A defendant must weigh the evidence possessed by the State and the potential penalties he or she may face prior to making the decision to admit to guilt, though, as in many cases, the decision cannot be reversed. This was illustrated in a recent New Jersey opinion in which the court assessed a defendant’s petition for post-conviction relief in a DWI case, arising out of the trial court’s refusal to allow him to reverse his guilty plea to a drug DWI offense. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated, it is advisable to speak to a dedicated New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss your rights.
The Defendant’s Trial
It is alleged that the defendant was driving his car when it slid off the road. The police responded to the scene of the accident, after which the defendant admitted to drinking liquid PCP prior to operating the vehicle. He was charged with a DWI crime, which was his second DWI offense, and other crimes. At his plea hearing, the defendant clearly acknowledged that pleading guilty as charged could result in the loss of his license for up to two years and monetary fines.
It is reported that the defendant nonetheless entered a guilty plea. At his sentencing hearing, however, he informally sought to withdraw his plea, stating that a two-year license suspension would be devastating. The court denied his request and imposed monetary penalties and a two-year license suspension on the defendant. He then filed a motion for post-conviction relief. The court denied his motion without a hearing, and he appealed.
Grounds for Granting Post-Conviction Relief
On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court noted that in support of his petition, the defendant merely asserted he had ineffective assistance of counsel. The court was not swayed by this allegation, noting that the defendant’s driving privileges had been suspended over twenty times, and this was his second DWI conviction. Thus, the court found that the defendant would have been fully apprised of the potential penalties of his second conviction, especially since it occurred in close temporal proximity to his first conviction. Further, the court noted that even if the defendant had received inadequate advisement during the prior proceeding, it would have no effect on his license suspension. Thus, the appellate court upheld the trial court ruling.
Speak with a New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney
While pleading guilty is appropriate in some instances, it is important for anyone charged with a drug DWI in New Jersey to understand their rights and the potential penalties they face. If you are accused of a DWI crime, the New Jersey DWI defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can inform you of your options and help you to seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach us through our online form or at 877-450-8301 to set up a meeting.