If you have wondered “why hire a New Jersey DWI attorney” after the cops charged you with DWI1, Allowing DWI2, or Refusal3, then read on. Recently an allegedly intoxicated driver ran an officer off the road, per the news. While traveling west on Route 57, a Manfield police officer swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle, per the news. Additionally, the oncoming car caused the officer to jump the curb. But news reports do not reveal what took place during the roadside investigation. Nevertheless, police claim the driver was under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance, per the news. Additionally, the cops charged the motorist with possession of heroin, possession of a hypodermic needle, reckless driving, failure to maintain lanes, driving under the influence, and several equipment violations, according to police.
Why hire a New Jersey DWI attorney?
Have you asked yourself in the past, “Why hire a New Jersey DWI attorney?” One of the many reasons relates to procedural laws and knowing how to use them. This is extraordinarily important because not knowing how to use these or any other laws can hurt your defense. After all, a New Jersey Municipal Court is not “The People’s Court,” a Municipal Court Judge is not Judge Marilyn Milian, and the realities of legal practice is nothing like the drama of daytime TV.
New Jersey Administrative Directive #01-84
One example of the realities of legal practice and the importance of knowing how to use the law relates to the court’s concern with backlog. The issue of backlog with respect to drunken driving goes back at least to the early 1980s. Consequently, in 1984 Chief Justice Robert N. Wilentz of the New Jersey Supreme Court adopted a policy to address this. In short, he wanted the courts to march in lockstep with the government’s legislative and executive branches as to drunken driving. This begs the question: Are the rights of defendants are less important than expedience in New Jersey courts.
In any every, it is not as if a lack of vigor preceded this Directive. On the contrary, Justice Wilentz recognized, “that a number of conditions, in addition to increased filings, have combined to cause a backlog, including challenges to the reliability of breathalyzers.” This means the executive branch had demonstrated vigor in prosecuting these matters. Additionally, it means defense attorneys had demonstrated vigor in mounting legal challenges. So what was all this concern for backlog really about?
Irrespective of the answer, the Chief Justice promulgated Directive #01-84. It sets forth the goal for courts to dispose of DWI and Refusal complaints within 60 days of filing. And it is operative today.
Issues, Expectations, and Exceptions
The Court’s Administrative Director, Robert D. Lipscher issued a Memorandum for the implementation of Directive #01-84 (memo). The memo defined backlog as the number of DWI cases which are already older than the goal, here 60 days. Additionally, the memo set forth the expectation of compliance with the 60 day goal in all but exceptional cases. With respect to exceptional cases, however, the memo anticipated courts would require more than 60 days for their disposition. Accordingly, the memo estimated the number of exceptional cases to be approximately 10% of all cases under 60 days old.
To achieve the 60 day goal, the Directive and Memorandum recommended various strategies. First, it recommended arraignment and scheduling soon after complaint filing. If you have ever faced DWI charges in New Jersey, this is why the first appearance in court probably took place within days the arrest.
Second, the memo recommended case conferences to manage backlog. These appearances provide an opportunity to review the needs of each case with each defendant and the attorney. Indeed, the Directive specifically recommended expedited identification of defense counsel to achieve the 60 day goal. Additionally, the memo indicated these conferences allow the process to appoint counsel to begin when required by an indigent defendant. Furthermore, case conferences offer a forum to address discovery issues. Moreover, the judge can schedule future events based on the results of the case conference. Finally, case conferences allow defendants who do not intend to go to trial to plead guilty.
Finally, the Directive recommended scheduled trial dates within 45 days to stay within the 60 day goal. Additionally, it recommended special sessions. Elaborating on this, the memo recommended special sessions take place at night or on weekends. This additional scheduling would avoid conflicting with non-DWI calendars as well as Superior Court calendars. Notably, the memo identified funding sources to cover the costs of the special sessions.
Why hire a New Jersey DWI attorney?
Camden County DWI Attorney Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide confidential consultations in all cases involving drunken driving and other motor vehicle offenses.
1 N.J.S.A. 39:4-50
3 N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a