New Jersey Court Rejects Appeal Based on Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Following DWI Conviction

Many people incorrectly believe that a DWI charge is merely akin to a traffic offense and that they do not need to hire an attorney or retain knowledgeable counsel. The consequences of retaining an inexperienced lawyer were illustrated in a recent New Jersey DWI case, in which the defendant was found guilty of DWI and other charges, and his subsequent appeal arguing that his conviction was caused by the ineffectiveness of his attorney was dismissed on procedural grounds. If you are charged with a DWI offense in New Jersey, you should meet with a skilled New Jersey DWI defense attorney to analyze your possible defenses.

Facts and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was stopped by a police officer in October 2017 while he was driving in Hackensack, New Jersey. Following the stop, he was charged with driving with an open container of alcohol, reckless driving, and driving while intoxicated. A trial was scheduled for January 2018. Prior to trial, the defendant’s attorney informed the court that he intended to file a motion to suppress, arguing that the police did not have probable cause to stop the defendant prior to conducting the investigation that led to the defendant’s arrest.

Allegedly, however, the defendant’s attorney did not provide the judge with a copy of the motion. The judge allowed the defendant’s attorney to orally present the motion but ultimately denied it. The trial was continued to April 2018, and following the trial, the defendant was convicted of DWI and sentenced as a second-time offender. He then appealed, arguing his trial counsel was ineffective. The State moved to dismiss his claims arguing they should be raised in a petition for post-conviction relief. The court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal, after which he appealed to the appellate court.

Asserting Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Following a DWI Conviction

Upon reviewing the record and procedural history of the case, the appellate court dismissed the defendant’s claims. Specifically, the appellate court stated that claims of ineffective counsel must be raised via a petition for post-conviction relief. Further, the appellate court explained that courts typically decline to evaluate such arguments on a direct appeal as they usually involve allegations and factual evidence that is outside of the record produced at trial. The appellate court declined to adopt the defendant’s reasoning that the matter could be resolved based on the trial record, as it was insufficient to assess many of his claims. As such, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling.

Speak to a Capable New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney

If you live in New Jersey and are currently charged with a DWI, it is advisable to speak to an attorney regarding your rights and to assess whether you may be able to argue that the evidence the State intends to introduce against you was obtained illegally. The capable New Jersey DWI defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are proficient at aiding criminal defendants in the pursuit of favorable outcomes and we possess the skills and experience needed to help you seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case. You can contact us at  877-450-8301 or via our online form to schedule a meeting.

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