2017 – Municipal Court: A concerned citizen called in an erratic driver and gave dispatch a description of the vehicle along with a license plate number. An Officer responded to the call and observed the vehicle failing to maintain its lane of travel. The Officer initiated a stop and immediately smelled alcohol when the Client rolled down her window. The Officer had the Client perform the Walk and Turn Test and the One Legged Stand and the Client was unable to successfully complete the tests. She was brought the police station and submitted to the Alcotest and had a result of .21% BAC. Client was charged with 39:4-50 Driving while Intoxicated, a third offense. She was facing a 10 year loss of driving privileges, 180 days in jail, and fines and penalties in excess of $1,000.00. She was also charged with 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, 39:4-88 Failure to Maintain Lane, and 39:3-29 Failure to Exhibit a Valid Driver’s License.
Result: Attorney was able to file a motion with the Court to show that Client had entered an uncounseled guilty plea on the prior DWI conviction. Under a case named State v. Laurick, a prior uncounseled guilty plea cannot be used for enhanced penalties; in the case of a DWI, for purposes of a jail sentence. Client pled guilty to 39:4-50 DWI and received a 10 year loss of license and approximately $1,400.00 in Court fines and fees. Since the Court had been provided proof that the Client had a prior uncounseled guilty plea, a jail sentence was not imposed and the client avoided six months in jail. All remaining summons were dismissed.
2017 – Municipal Court: Client was pulled over for failing to maintain lane. The Client was asked to leave his vehicle for purposes of field sobriety tests, and he indicated to the Officers that he had injuries to his low back and had recently had knee surgery, which may cause him difficulty in performing the field sobriety tests. The Client was taken back to the police department and asked to submit to an Alcotest. He refused. Client was charged with several motor vehicle violations, including 39:4-50 Driving while Intoxicated, 39:4-50.4 Refusal, 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, 39:4-97 Careless Driving, 39:4-126 Improper Turn, 39:4-56 Delaying Traffic and 39:4-88b Failure to Maintain Lane. Client was facing a three month loss of driving privileges on the DWI and up to a 1 year loss of driving privileges and mandatory interlock device on the refusal charge.
Result: An expert report was submitted to the Court showing that the field sobriety tests were improperly given and the Client’s injuries would prevent him from being able to do the field sobriety tests. The State determined that based on this, they would be unable to prove the necessary elements of the DWI charge and the DWI was dismissed. However, there was enough observations for their to be probable cause to ask the Client to submit to the Alcotest machine. Client pled guilty to 39:4-50.4 Refusal and lost his driving privileges for seven (7) months and had an interlock device installed in the vehicle for the length of the suspension and 6 months after. He also pled guilty to 39:4-56 Delaying Traffic and 39:4-97 Careless Driving. He had fines and penalties of approximately $1,100.00.
2017 – Municipal Court: Client was found sleeping in the backseat of his vehicle by an Officer. The Client had been living in his vehicle at the time, and had pulled into the parking lot of a twenty-four hour restaurant to get food and then sleep for the evening. It was a warm evening and he left the vehicle running with the air conditioning on. The Officer, upon a search of the vehicle found ten (10) empty miniature bottles of vodka. The stop occurred at approximately 2:30p.m. Client was not intending to drive until early the following morning in order to get to work on time. He was unable to successfully complete the field sobriety tests. Client was charged with 39:4-96 Reckless Driving and 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated. Client was facing a three to twelve month loss of license on the DWI, as well as fines and penalties between $600.00 and $800.00. On the Reckless Driving the Client was facing up to a 90 day loss of license, $500.00 fine, and 5 motor vehicle points.
Result: The Attorneys filed a Motion to Dismiss based on the fact the State would be unable to prove operation as the Client was found in the backseat of the car and was planning on sleeping there for the entire evening. Based on the submission of counsel and conversations with the Prosecutor, the State determined that they would be unable to prove the necessary element of operation – that the client was intoxicated at the time he operated the motor vehicle. The State also conceded that they would not be able to prove that the Client intended to operate the Motor Vehicle after drinking alcohol. Both the Reckless Driving and the DWI were dismissed because State was unable to meet their proofs.
2017 – Municipal Court: Client was pulled over for failing to maintain her lane of travel. When she was interacting with the Officer, she was confused and struggled with following his instructions. When asked to complete the field sobriety tests she was unable to successfully complete them. The Client was stopped in a school zone, which doubles any fines and penalties for a DWI offense. She was brought back to the station where she took the Alcotest and had a BAC result of a .13%. She was charged with 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated, 39:4-51(b) Open Container of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle, 39:4-50(g) Driving While Intoxicated in a School Zone, 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, 39:4-97 Careless Driving 39:4-88b Failure to Maintain Lane, and 39:3-29(c) Failure to Produce a Driver’s License. Due to the reading, Client was facing a seven (7) to twelve (12) month loss of her driving privileges, which would be doubled based on the School Zone charge.
Result: The Attorney noticed an issue with the Alcohol Influence Report (AIR) and recommenced to the Client that an expert report would be beneficial for her case. A report showed that the machine was not operating properly as the proper time between tests was not observed by the machine. Based on this report the Alcotest results were barred. The Client pled guilty to 39:4-50 DWI, and without a reading was sentenced to a three month loss of license. The Client also pled guilty to having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. Due to the stop taking place at night the prosecutor had discretion to dismiss the school zone charge and did so. Along with 39:4-50(g) DWI in a School Zone, the State dismissed all remaining tickets. The Client received fines and penalties at approximately $639.00 for the DWI and $239.00 in fines and penalties on the Open Container ticket.
2017 – Municipal Court: Client was pulled over for failing to maintain her lane on the Garden State Parkway. The Officer asked her to perform the Standard Field Sobriety Tests after smelling alcohol during the initial contact with the Client. The Officer’s car was equipped with a camera which would capture the audio and video recording of the motor vehicle stop. However, the State was unable to produce the video within the time ordered by the Court. The State granted Defendant’s Motion to Suppress the Motor Vehicle Recording and barred it from being used at trial. The scope of the suppression was to be determined at the time of trial. Client was charged with 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated, 39:4-50.2 Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test, 39:4-96 Reckless Driving, 39:4-97 Careless Driving, 39:4-88b Failure to Maintain Lane, 39:4-56 Delaying Traffic, 39:4-67 Obstructing Traffic and 39:3-29 Failure to Produce a Drivers License. Client was facing a 7 to 12 month loss of license and a mandatory minimum of 6 months of an Interlock Device on the Refusal. She was also facing a three month loss of license on the 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated.
Result: A review of the paper discovery showed that the State failed to provide the Refusal Form which the Officer read to the Client when she was brought in for the breath test. Further, Client was charged with 39:4-50.2 which is the incorrect statute for refusal. The correct statute should have been 39:50.4. Due to these errors, the charge for 39:4-50.2 Refusal, was dismissed. Client pled guilty to 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated and the basis for the plea was the observation of the officer. Client lost her driving privileges for three months and had court fines and fees of approximately $689.00. Client also pled guilty to 39:4-67 Obstructing Traffic and 39:3-29 Failure to Produce a License. Client had court fines and fees totaling $286.00.
2017 – Municipal Court: Client was stopped for Failing to Stop at a Stop Sign. Client indicated that he did not know where he was going and he was following a friend to the next bar. Client was asked to exit the vehicle and perform the Standard Field Sobriety Tests, which he was unable to successfully complete as he failed to count out loud for the Walk and Turn Test and swayed during the One Legged Stand. The Client went to the station and submitted to a breath test with result of a .17% BAC. Client was charged with 39:4-50 DWI and facing up to a 12 month loss of license and a mandatory interlock device for a minimum of 6 months after his driving privileges were restored. He was also cahrged with 39:4-96 Reckless Driving and 39:4-144 Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign.
Result: The Attorneys made a request for the preservation of all video evidence within their initial letter to the prosecutor for discovery. This request came within a week of the arrest occurring. Through the discovery process the attorneys discovered that the station has a video recording system and the State failed to keep this video evidence. A Motion to Dismiss was filed because the State failed to preserve evidence. Based on the discovery provided, as well as an expert report, the State was unable to prove that a proper twenty (20) minute observation was completed. Due to this failure to preserve evidence the results of the breath test were suppressed. The Client did plead guilty to 39:4-50 DWI on the basis of the officer’s observations and performance on the field sobriety testing, and had a three month loss of driving privileges as well as fines and penalties of $639.00. All other charges were dismissed.
2017 – Municipal Court: Client was pulled over because the vehicle had a registration flagged as expired and for failing to maintain his lane of travel. The officer indicated in his report that he smelled alcohol and found an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. Client was brought into the police station after he unsuccessfully completed the field sobriety tests. He took a breath test and blew a .00%. A Drug Recognition Officer (DRE) was called in and could not determine that the Client was impaired. Client was charged with 39:4-50 Driving while Intoxicated, 39:4-97 Careless Driving, 39:3-4 Unregistered Vehicle, and 39:4-51b Open Container of Alcohol.
Result: Based on the .00% BAC and the negative DRE Report, the DWI charge was dismissed. Client pled guilty to 39:4-97 Careless Driving and the remainder of the charges were dismissed.
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