New Jersey DWI Attorney John Menzel

Will Voluntary Pre-Trial Counseling Help Or Hurt My DWI Case?


If you believe you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, seek appropriate counseling. If your case has certain characteristics, I will certainly recommend that you get an alcohol evaluation. Those characteristics include a prior history of drug or alcohol related convictions or alleged breath or blood test results in excess of 0.15.

Evaluation can be used as a mitigating circumstance–something that makes you less worthy of punishment. For example, if the evaluator concludes that this was an isolated event and that you don’t have an alcohol or drug problem, I can convey that information to a judge at sentencing or communicate it to a prosecutor while negotiating a disposition. This becomes a once in a lifetime event, unlikely to ever occur again, based on the outcome of an evaluation by a third party professional rather than an attorney-advocate. On the other hand, if it turns out that there is a need for further counseling, you should pursue that additional counseling. Then, the message to the judge at sentencing will be that this event was a wakeup call that caused you to take proactive measures to address the problem.

What Advice Would You Give To Prospective DWI Clients In New Jersey?

Most importantly, I advise everyone to understand your rights if you get pulled over. One of the most common problems is clients who have attempted balance tests designed to evoke signs of impairment, regardless of whether that impairment is caused by alcohol, nervousness, tiredness, distraction, or health issues. I try to keep people focused on planning for collateral consequences, those things that are not required by law–everyday life things like dealing with your employer, moving your residence, arranging for alternative transportation to and from work, getting a license in another state. These are examples of things people can do to blunt the legal consequences of a DWI conviction.

How Do I Know Where A Friend Or Family Member Has Been Taken After A DWI Arrest?

Defendants are rarely taken to a jail. In fact, police don’t want to take DWI defendants to jail because it’s more work. It’s much easier for them to have you wait in a lobby or holding cell at the local police department until your friend or loved-one arrives.

Should I Call An Attorney Immediately After An Arrest?

There’s no need to call an attorney after hours; the next available time during business hours should be fine. The most important thing to do is to try to get an independent blood test by having your friend or loved-one take you to a local emergency room. Emergency rooms will frequently not honor a request for independent blood samples. You may have to be very insistent to the point of being threatened with arrest. But it’s important to get that sample, particularly in marginal or borderline cases, because those samples can serve to undermine the breath test results. Of course, if a defendant was very obviously intoxicated, it is probably best to go home.

Can My Friend Hire Someone Else If He Is Not Satisfied With The Services Of The Attorney I Hired?

It is possible to hire another attorney after a case has begun. It is important to hire an attorney who concentrates on DWI defense. DWI is a very complex area of the law. It involves knowing physiology, chemistry, and the rules of court, among other things. If you saw a doctor who practiced as a general practitioner and that doctor thought you might have cancer, that doctor would not continue to treat you but would refer you to an oncologist. The same is true for DWI cases. DWI cases require attorneys with specialized knowledge and experience.

For more information on Pretrial Counseling In A DWI Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 899-1899 today.

John Menzel, J.D.

Learn your options - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (732) 899-1899

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