Is A DWI Charge Considered A Crime In New Jersey?
A DWI charge is not defined as a criminal offense in New Jersey. Instead, it is defined as a traffic offense, albeit one with very serious and practical consequences. New Jersey is one of only a handful of states in which a DWI charge is not considered a criminal offense.
When Is A Defendant Generally Released If A DWI Arrest Occurs?
When someone is arrested for a DWI, they will usually be released within an hour or two. They will be processed at the police station and will be required to submit to a breath test. Sometimes the process takes longer because the breath testing machines occasionally break down.
Can I Plea Bargain A New Jersey DWI Charge?
Plea bargaining DWI, breath test refusal, and marijuana possession charges is illegal in New Jersey. However, if the merits of the case and an examination of the available evidence indicates that the State may not be able to prove the charge, then a prosecutor may agree to amend, downgrade, or even dismiss the charge.
What Are My Chances Of Actually Winning A DWI Case In New Jersey?
The chances of winning a DWI case in New Jersey depend upon the strength of the evidence, who the judge is, and who the prosecutor is. Every defendant has a right to trial and every case is different. DWI cases can be won, but there is systemic bias that tends to favor conviction. If there is no practical difference between the expected sentence when comparing what one faces when they plead guilty upfront versus what they would face if they lost at trial, it is usually better to go to trial.
What If My Rights Were Not Read During A DWI Arrest? Does That Mean A Dismissal Of My Case?
If the Miranda rights were not read during a DWI arrest, it does not necessarily mean that the case will be dismissed. Miranda rights involve the obligation of police to remind a person that they possess the constitutional right to remain silent and the constitutional right to consult with an attorney. If the Miranda rights are not read to someone before they are taken into custody and interrogated, then any answers provided in that interrogation could be excluded from evidence. The exclusions would not apply to any statements that were volunteered by the person under arrest; they would only apply to the answers to questions that were intended to elicit information.
What Are The Possible Defenses In DWI Cases In New Jersey?
Most defenses for DWI cases in New Jersey revolve around the elements of the offense itself. Was the person operating or in control of a motor vehicle? Was the person under the influence? Is the intoxication claimed solely on observational evidence, or does it also depend on a breath or a blood test result? The quality of the breath or the blood test results can be challenged by questioning whether the test was administered properly, whether the person obtaining the samples was properly certified to do so, and whether the machine was working properly.
There are other preliminary defenses, such as the argument that there was no reasonable basis for the officer to have stopped the vehicle to begin with, or that there was no probable cause to arrest the person. Sometimes there is an affirmative defense such as necessity, meaning that the person had no choice but to drive while under the influence to avoid something worse, such as a medical emergency or the fear of being attacked. There are all kinds of defenses that one can raise in defending a DWI charge.
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