New Jersey Court Discusses Right to a Speedy Trial in DWI Cases

Under both the New Jersey and Federal Constitutions, defendants charged with DWI have numerous rights, including the right to a prompt resolution of the charges against them. Thus, if the State violates a defendant’s right to a speedy trial, the defendant may be able to argue for the dismissal of any pending charges or for a verdict to be vacated. Recently, in a New Jersey DWI case, the court set forth the standards for determining whether the defendant has been deprived of the constitutional right to a speedy trial. If you are charged with DWI, it is in your best interest to converse with a New Jersey DWI defense attorney to assess what rights you may be afforded under the law.

Factual History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was stopped due to an improper lane change in December 2017. When the police officer that stopped the defendant spoke with the defendant, he noticed she smelled of alcohol. The defendant underwent field sobriety tests, which she failed. She was subsequently charged with DWI. She invoked her right to a speedy trial at her first court appearance later that month. After several hearings, a trial date was set for October 2018.

However, allegedly, when the trial commenced, the police officer that conducted the stop was not present. Thus, the defendant moved for dismissal of the charges due to the violation of the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the trial was rescheduled for December 2018. The defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to her charges and was sentenced as a third time offender. She then appealed her conviction arguing, in part, that her right to a speedy trial was violated.

Right to a Speedy Trial

On appeal, the court noted that both the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, paragraph ten of the New Jersey Constitution grant a defendant the right to a speedy trial. If a trial court determines that a defendant’s right to a speedy trial has not been violated, the appellate court will not overturn the trial court’s ruling absent a clear abuse of discretion. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the trial court judge analyzed the relevant factors for determining whether the right to a speedy trial has been violated, and ultimately found that the delays in the case, when assessed as a whole, were not unreasonable or unexplained, and were not the result of the State attempting to thwart the defendant’s right to defend herself. Further, the court found that it was clear that the defendant did not suffer any prejudice due to the delay. As such, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Seasoned New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney

Simply because a person is charged with DWI does not mean the person no longer has rights. If a state violates a DWI defendant’s rights, the defendant may be able to obtain a dismissal of his or her charges. If you are charged with a DWI, the seasoned New Jersey DWI defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can assist you in fighting to protect your rights by seeking the best result available under the facts of your case. We can be reached at 877-450-8301 or via our form online to set up a conference.

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