Jersey City DWI Dismissed Outright Based on Speedy Trial
Our Jersey City DWI attorneys recently defended a client who had been stopped and arrested for DWI in Jersey City after officers found him sleeping inside his car with the engine running. Based on the prevailing law in New Jersey, even if you are sleeping inside your car you can still get charged and convicted for drunk driving. After awakening him, the police claimed that a struggle ensued and they found our client carrying a gun. Based on the serious felony charges, the case was sent up to the Hudson County Superior Court when the defendant ended up receiving a Pre-Trial Intervention which resulted in the criminal charges being dismissed once he successfully completed the program.
However, there was one big problem – the DWI and other motor vehicle charges were never sent back down to the Jersey City municipal court to be disposed of. To make matters worse, the New Jersey DMV had suspended our client’s license and would not reinstate even though a bench warrant was never imposed in his case because the motor vehicle tickets appeared to be frozen in this transfer status and unresolved for so many years. After years of trying to clear this up on his own and spending countless hours dealing with DMV, and court staff at Jersey City Municipal Court and Hudson County Superior Court he was at his wit’s end. He came to the conclusion that there was no way he could do this any longer by himself so he called our office to explain what exactly had been going on for the last 3 years. At first even our attorneys found it hard to believe that such a major case involving a DWI could “fall through the cracks” and result in such a hardship for someone. But based on the facts, we agreed to take on the case and assured him we would get to the bottom of it. After conducting our own investigation we were able to track down the prosecutor who originally handled the case and quickly figured out that through an error in the system the case was never actually sent back down to the municipal court 3 years ago like it should have been.
Based on this new information we had the case sent back down to Jersey City Municipal Court to finally be disposed of. Once we appeared in court, our DUI defense lawyers quickly asserted our client’s speedy trial rights and made motion to dismiss the case based on the fact that it had been approximately 36 months since our client’s case was resolved at the Superior Court and based on State v. Cahill, 213 N.J. 253 (2013) that time period pending a remand does not “toll” or stop the speedy trial clock from ticking. At first the prosecutor opposed the dismissal because of the original set of facts involving the gun and the fact that our client’s BAC reading was so high at 0.24% effectively making him 3 times the legal limit However, after a lengthy oral argument before the judge it became clear that the law was on the defendant’s side and the prosecutor had no choice but to agree to dismiss the case. Our client was able to walk out of court with no license suspension and no fines and now can finally get his license back after all these years.
State v. D.B. decided September 22, 2017