If the police arrest you for drunk driving, you may assume you are inevitably going to jail and receiving a conviction. However, not all DWI cases are straightforward for prosecutors. In fact, the number of DWI case dismissals in New Jersey is increasing.
You have a good chance of avoiding charges, license suspensions, fines and jail time. Here is how.
Declining conviction rates
The DWI conviction rate in the Garden State is 71% in comparison to 85% in 2008. Additionally, the percentage of dismissals is more than double. These numbers alone should give you confidence that you may get out of a DWI conviction.
Pleading to different charges
Most dismissals occur when defendants plead to another offense with less impactful penalties, such as reckless driving. This is often known as a “wet reckless” charge. New Jersey does not allow plea deals for DWIs, but refers to them as alternative dispositions instead.
You and your attorney may be able to chip away at the evidence in a DWI case. This is another factor that is leading to a rise in dismissed cases. For example, there are strict procedures for police officers who administer Breathalyzer tests. The New Jersey Supreme Court says that there must be proof of proper calibration, and a certified officer must give the test. If the prosecutor cannot prove either of these aspects, the judge may throw out the evidence.
Blood tests are also a common point of contention. Police officers can only draw blood with a warrant or consent in most cases. Even when the police do take blood, there can be a six-month-long delay to get toxicology results.
Difficulty detecting drugs
Another issue is the prevalence of drugged driving. There is no easy way for police officers to gauge how impaired drivers are when using certain drugs, especially marijuana. Without an ironclad way to gather evidence, judges throw many cases out.