If you search the web, you will view countless websites, wherein lawyers brag how great they are, and how they will win your case. For the most part this is nonsense. The plain truth to the matter is that the “card are stacked against you” in a DWI case. I have been in practice for 22 years. Each year it gets more difficult to win a DWI case. Moreover, it gets more expensive each round you take a DWI case to. Each year the courts find less and less drivers not guilty of a DWI charge.
The New Jersey Courts has actively joined in the battle to combat drunk driving. Many lawyers would argue that this is not the role of the judiciary. However, it is reality. The New Jersey courts regard drunk driving as one of the “chief instrumentalities of human catastrophe.” See, State v. Grant, 196 N.J. Super. 470 (App. Div. 1984). As a result, the courts have continually closed as many DWI defenses as it can.
One of the restrictions to limit DWI defenses is that there is no plea bargaining. Even if a driver is charged with a DWI and a refusal, the prosecutor can not offer to drop the refusal in return for a plea on the DWI charge. The plea bargaining Guideline 4(B) provided by the AOC bars prosecutors from seeking a dismissal of a first offender refusal charge in exchange for a plea to drunk driving.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has also ruled that there is no right to a jury trial for driving drivers even those for a third time offender. The New Jersey Supreme Court has also ruled that all drunk driving cases in New Jersey must be finished in 60 days. See Directive 1-84, dated July 26, 1984. The Municipal Court Presiding Judge monitors all Municipal Courts to ensure their compliance with the 60 day rule.
Finally, the AOC issued yet another directive on October 22, 1985, which required that a municipal court judge not automatic dismss a drunk case if the complainant police officer fails to appear for trial. See, Bulletin Letter #9, Dismissals for Lack of Prosecution. As can be seen from the foregoing, beating your DWI will be no easy matter. Every day more and more loopholes are being closed. Beating a DWI case is like trying to beat an NBA all star team with LeBron and Jordan on the same team. The New Jersey DWI system is perhaps the most unfair legal system that operates in New Jersey. Every benefit of the doubt goes to the State, and there is an over reliance on the credibility of the police officers.
Here is a survey of some important cases that restrict DWI Defenses in New Jersey:
Jury Trial – There is no right to a jury trial on a DWI case. State v. Stanton, 176 N.J. 75 (2003).
Plea Bargaining – No DWI or refusal charge can be the subject of plea bargaining.
Involuntary Intoxication — Involuntary intoxication is not a defense to driving under the influence of alcohol. See, State v. Hammond, 118 N.J. 306 (1990).
Extrapolation — The defense of extrapolation is not permitted in a drunk driving case. State v. Tischio, 107 N.J. 504 (1987).