NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL ATTORNEYS ASSSESS APPELLATE DIVISION RULING ON MERGER OF DWI AND REFUSAL CONVICTIONS

After the defendant was arrested for drunk-driving, he pled guilty to both DWI and refusal to submit to a breath test.  The State and the defendant through his New Jersey criminal attorney agreed to merge the DWI offense with the refusal offense, thus the sentence would only be imposed on the DWI.

The defendant was sentenced to a seven-month license suspension in spite of the step-down provision of the DWI statute that entitled the defendant to a three-month license suspension. The defendant’sNew Jerseylawyer appealed the ruling.

The Appellate Division held that a refusal offense cannot be merged with a defendant’s first DWI offense because it violates the merger principles and the Supreme Court’s Guidelines for Operation of Plea Agreements in the Municipal Courts of New Jersey. The Appellate panel reversed the sentence imposed on the defendant.    Visit the website of New Jersey Criminal Attorney John F. Renner for more information.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“No pain equals that of an injury inflicted under the pretense of a just punishment”

Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola, Spanish poet and dramatist, 1559-1619, Sonetos 

NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL ATTORNEY’S MOTION TO SUPPRESS DENIED BASED ON PROBABLE CAUSE

A North Arlington police officer received a message from the dispatcher that a caller had reported a vehicle driving around the neighborhood and the driver kept exiting the vehicle. The officer observed the defendant’s car with a license plate matching the dispatcher’s report. Upon questioning the defendant smelled of alcohol, admitted to drinking at a local pub, failed a field-sobriety test and was charged with DWI.

The defendant’s New Jersey Attorney filed a motion to suppress claiming lack of probable cause. The defendant’s motion stated that the police officer had no cause to make the stop and administer the field sobriety test. The municipal court judge denied the motion to suppress.

On appeal, the Appellate Division ruled that the police officer was justified in making a field inquiry. The detection of the odor of alcohol combined with his admission of drinking gave the officer probable cause to believe that the defendant had been driving while intoxicated.

Please visit the website of New Jersey Attorney John F. Renner.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“The cause is hidden, but the result is known”

Ovid

NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL ATTORNEYS STUDY APPELLATE DIVISION RULING IN WITNESS-TAMPERING CONVICTION

On May 17, 2007, the defendant, the head of a High School’s Physical Education Department and field hockey coach, met with a 17-year-old student who claimed to have engaged in sexual encounters with another field hockey coach. The defendant called the student into their office and urged the student to rescind her claims against the coach because the defendant knew the coach from a prior relationship, claimed that the coach was on suicide watch and told the student that they could “save” the coach. The defendant was a family friend of the student and had coached her in the past.  The defendant then handed the student a note stating that “you hold the key” before the student left the office.  The student later found nine notes in the defendant’s handwriting near the student’s locker indicating the student’s obligation to tell the truth..

The defendant, facing witness-tampering and official misconduct convictions, claimed to believe that no sexual relationship existed between the student and field hockey coach. The trial judge forced the defendant to disprove an element of the charged offense by clear and convincing evidence, rather than requiring the state to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt.

A New Jersey lawyer fought to prove that the trial judge erroneously shifted the burden of proof to the defendant. The attorney argued that the trial judge erroneously held that the defendant “had not satisfied the clear-and-convincing-evidence standard in the affirmative defense statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:2-4c(3).

The Appellate Division reversed both convictions stating that the trial judge “erred by shifting the burden of proof to [defendant] and by brining up the issue of mistake of fact or law even though the [defendant] ‘never asserted’ a defense…or presented evidence that she did not believe her conduct legally constituted an offense.”

Please visit the website of New Jersey Criminal Attorney John F. Renner for more information.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“But evidence drawn empirically from facts, though it may justify the action of the practical man, is not scientifically conclusive”

Beatrice Potter Webb, English sociologist and social reformer, ‘The Economics of Factory Legislation,” Socialism and National minimum (1909)

 

NEW JERSEY LAWYER BRINGS APPEAL THAT RESULTS IN NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT ESTABLISHING GUIDELINES CONCERNING MOTOR VEHICLE SENTENCING

The defendant received a reckless-driving conviction in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-96 for using the left-turn lane at an intersection as a passing lane. In municipal court, the defendant was charged with a reckless driving conviction and received a 45-day license suspension sentence   The defendant’s New Jersey lawyer argued that the suspension statute, N.J.S.A. 39:5-31, is “obscure, vague, and overbroad and gives the judge unbridled discretion.” In the appeal, the defendant denied fair notice of the sentence she was facing and challenged the constitutionality of the suspension statute.  Justice Barry Albin asserted that “the license-suspension provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:5-31 are not ‘hidden’ and all motorists are presumed to know the law.” Despite rejecting defendant’s challenge, the New Jersey Supreme Court established guidelines to ensure the uniformity and fairness concerning motor vehicle sentencing.    For more information on criminal law in the State of New Jersey, please visit the website of NJ Criminal Attorney John F. Renner.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“Every opinion tends to become a law”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Locher v.New York, 198U.S.45, 75 (1905)