Below is a helpful “Mythbusters” style Q & A that presents and answers common questions many of my clients ask about DUI/DWI law cases in New Jersey. For more information, call 908-782-5313 today for a FREE consultation about your case:
Myth: “My (brother/cousin/uncle/roommate/co-worker/friend at the bar) told me that if I hired Lawyer X he will beat my DWI, and that my Breathlyzer reading will be thrown out for ______ reason, and so on and so on……………..”
Reality: No area of the law is as ripe for stories, misinformation, urban legends, unsolicited testimonials about certain lawyers, and generally terrible armchair advice as New Jersey DWI law.
Understand this: New Jersey Courts and municipal prosecutors take DWI cases VERY seriously. These cases do not get dismissed or result in “not guilty” verdicts easily. They are not “just like a traffic ticket.” And any lawyer that outright promises or guarantees you a certain result or outcome upfront is being unethical.
Every DWI case is unique, and there are literally hundreds of different nuances, facts, and variables that must be carefully scrutinized and weighed by an attorney who is crafting a zealous defense to a DWI charge. You need to put considerable thought and care into selecting a DWI defense attorney, as this area of the law often changes based on new appellate (higher court) decisions. Also, there are many “statewide” DWI firms that agree to take a DWI case anywhere in NJ, and then merely hire “freelance” attorneys to cover the case in court.
At our firm, Scott Bullock, Esq. will be the only attorney involved in your case from start to finish. Call 908-782-5313 for a FREE consultation about your NJ DWI case.
Myth: “A DWI charge is impossible to beat, so what’s the point of hiring a lawyer?”
Reality: Nothing could be further from the truth. Experienced DWI lawyers can and do get New Jersey DWI cases dismissed. A skilled DWI attorney demands every shred of paperwork pertaining to the breathalyzer machine, the arresting officer’s field notes, any video footage from the police car “dashcam,” and a host of other paperwork that is carefully scrutinized for all possible defenses. Remember, probable cause must have existed for the officer to have stopped your vehicle in the first place. Also, to sustain a conviction you must actually have been “operating” the vehicle. Cases where you were arrested for DWI in your driveway or a parking lot, or while sleeping in the back seat etc are cases that especially call for an experienced attorneys review and zealous defense.
Myth: If my Breathlyzer reading exceeds 0.8, I am “automatically” guilty of DWI.
The Alcotest “breathalyzer” machine used in NJ is, like all machines and electronics, subject to random “bugs” and occasional failures. Experienced attorneys also often consult with private breathalyzer experts (often electronics engineers), who will review the technical service and maintenance records of the breathalyzer (Alcotest) machine, and prepare a certified written report as to any deficiencies of the machine and/or its use and operation. Based on the expert’s report and/or testimony, your Breathalyzer readings may be rendered inadmissible as evidence at your DWI trial.
Myth: Only alcohol intoxication can lead to a NJ DWI charge:
Reality: In NJ, one can be charged with DWI for an alleged impairment caused by ANY substance, even prescription medication provided by your doctor. For a DWI charge based on consumption of “illegal” drugs (i.e marijuana or substances other than alcohol), an experienced attorney will carefully scrutinize any DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) reports that the State intends to introduce, as well as demand lab reports of any alleged substances found in the vehicle or on your person. A “marijuana DWI” is the most common type of case we see at the firm. Understand that determining whether a certain level of THC in your blood actually impaired your operation of the vehicle is a fact-based question that can be challenged in Court.
These cases are further complicated by those enrolled in New Jersey’s MMP program for medical marijuana.
Myth: “I can speak to the prosecutor myself before court and plea-bargain the DWI down to a lower charge.”
Reality: The NJ Attorney General specifically prohibits municipal prosecutors from engaging in “plea bargains” in DWI cases. Unlike many other states, NJ does not have a reduced “wet reckless” charge or an alternative disposition program such as the ARD program in Pennsylvania. In fact, most attorneys consider NJ to be the “toughest” state in America with respect to DWI laws and penalties.