Pending Speedy Trial Case Before the New Jersey Supreme Court

New Jersey Municipal Courts have a guideline of deciding drunk driving cases within sixty days. Often, however, it is often extremely difficult to resolve a contested driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) case within that time frame.

An important case is currently pending before the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding the right to a speedy trial in drunk driving cases. On October 28, 2007, the client rear-ended a Pennsauken police cruiser. His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit of 0.08%. In addition to being charged with DWI and other traffic violations, the client was charged with assault by an automobile, a fourth degree crime. Client plead guilty to the assault charge. However, it was not for another seventeen months that he was summoned to appear in municipal court to address the DWI and other tickets, a delay over eight times the specified sixty-day goal for DWI resolutions. Although a Camden County judge and the Appellate Division of the state Superior Court ruled that the seventeen-month delay violated the Client’s right to a speedy trial and dismissed the DWI and traffic violations, the state appealed. The Supreme Court will soon decided whether or not this delay violated the Client’s right to a speedy trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court established the standard for a speedy trial in Barker v. Wingo (1972) and the New Jersey Supreme Court applied that standard in State v. Szima (1976). Notably, delay caused or requested by the defendant will not be considered a speedy trial violation. If you feel that your DWI case warrants dismissal on speedy trial grounds, contact Randolph H. Wolf today to discuss.