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

Under New Jersey law, all criminal defendants, even those charged with DWI, are innocent until proven guilty and have numerous rights from the time the matter is under investigation through the resolution of their case. For example, a DWI defendant has the right to a speedy trial, and if the right is violated, the charges against the person may be dismissed. Recently, a New Jersey court issued an opinion discussing the right to a speedy trial in a matter in which the defendant’s trial was delayed for almost two years after her arrest.  If you are charged with a DWI offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to determine your rights.

The Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

It is reported that the defendant was arrested for DWI in July 2016. She waived her right to an arraignment hearing and her first appearance approximately a month after her arrest was adjourned at her attorney’s request. It was rescheduled for September 2016 but was continued by the court. The matter was ultimately scheduled for trial in February 2017 but was relisted to July 2017, which was the next available date, per the request of the defendant’s attorney.

Allegedly, the defendant then filed a motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution, which was denied. She appealed, and her appeal was denied as well. Thus, she entered a conditional plea in April 2018, over 630 days after her arrest. She then appealed the denial of her motion to dismiss, arguing that her right to a speedy trial had been violated.

The Right to a Speedy Trial

A court will reverse a denial of a speedy trial motion only where it clearly demonstrates an error of law. The courts conduct a four-part test to determine whether a defendant’s Constitutional right to a speedy trial has been infringed upon. Pursuant to the test, they analyze the reason for the delay, the length of the delay, the defendant’s proclamation of the right to a speedy trial, and the prejudice the defendant suffered because of the delay.

No one factor is determinative or a sufficient reason to support the finding that the defendant’s right to a speedy trial has been violated. Further, each case is evaluated independently, based on its unique facts. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the delays were attributable, at least in part, to the defendant, and any prejudice she suffered was negligible. Thus, it affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to a Trusted New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney

Being charged with a first offense DWI can be a harrowing experience, and most DWI defendants would like to have their cases resolved as quickly as possible. If you are charged with a DWI offense it is critical to seek prompt legal counsel regarding your rights. The New Jersey DUI lawyers of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are adept at helping people charged with DWI crimes in the pursuit of justice, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly to help you fight to protect your liberties. You can contact us through our form online or at 877-450-8301 to set up a meeting.

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