Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey
The purpose of this site is to provide information to drivers, as well as access to legal representation if you have been charged with DWI in New Jersey.
by Peter Lederman
While other attorneys claim they “specialize” in defending NJ drivers charged with Driving While Intoxicated, my practice has been limited to DWI defense and defense of related motor vehicle violations for some time.
After over 35 years of defending New Jersey drivers charged with DWI, it is clear that you cannot win a DWI case unless you make every effort to do so. At the same time, we recognize that there is tremendous misinformation about what can be done in defending DWI charges. For example, we have found that many police officers lack adequate training in the special skills needed to conduct an effective investigation to recognize intoxication.
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Tests referred to as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, require special training and strict adherence to testing procedures before test results are deemed reliable enough to establish intoxication. Furthermore, reports prepared by officers are often inaccurate or incomplete. Many problems remain with the State’s new breath test program. The State consequently has had difficulty meeting standards established by the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Chun. Consequently, evidence of breath test results in many cases has been excluded. Finally, the State often fails to properly prepare cases for trial because of the volume of cases handled.
We require that the State of New Jersey demonstrate guilt by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that the breath test is administered properly, that the breath test machine was properly operating, that the police have reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop the vehicle in the first place and have the probable cause to arrest after the stop. We will try all DWI complaints to a verdict unless it appears that a different result meets the client’s objectives.
We have found that obtaining discovery, preparing for trial, knowing the law and having trial experience are only the first steps in achieving a successful result in a DWI case. We believe that six different “intangibles” make the difference in achieving the client’s goals after evaluating the risks and rewards of different approaches. In each DWI case, then, we emphasize identifying these six “intangibles.”
DWI Legal Experience
As I mentioned above, my practice has been limited to DWI defense and defense of related motor vehicle violations. Over the years, I have been fortunate to participate in different DWI related activities.
- I have served as Chairman of the New Jersey State Bar Association – Municipal Court Section for three years, in that capacity proposing reform of DWI laws and testifying before the New Jersey State Legislature.
- Prior to that time, I served as Chairman of the Middlesex County Bar Association – Municipal Court Committee.
- I have also trained lawyers in seminars on various aspects in DWI defense including Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and have had articles published in professional journals as to the proper administration of these tests and new DWI case law.
- I have organized and presented seminars with the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education.
- A series of seminars were presented in which lawyers in different parts of the State were trained in DWI trial techniques.
- I have also presented seminars around the State concerning the new breath test machine, the Alcotest 7110 MK III- C, and have spoken in a series of seminars presented by different County Bar Associations around the State.
- I have presented seminars sponsored by the American Trial Lawyers Association and Middlesex County Bar Association and have taught a Master Class where a group of 20 attorneys received training in DWI defense trial techniques over a period of a month.
- Finally, we have organized other Master Classes with small groups of attorneys who receive training in DWI defense over a period of several months.
Our DWI legal practice involves representing clients across the State of New Jersey, trying cases from one end of the State to the other. We represent individuals who present unique problems and issues. We also represent organizations and are especially proud to appear as amicus curiae, in the pending matter before the New Jersey Supreme Court, State v. Chun. In that matter we represented an association of attorneys concerned with the interests of the citizens of the State of New Jersey, where the Supreme Court determined under what circumstances whether the breath test results from the new breath test machine, the Alcotest 7110 MK III-C, will be accepted as scientifically reliable.
Most importantly, we pride ourselves in listening to our clients to understand their particular concerns, to answer their questions and resolve their problems.
If you believe that your driver’s license is worth fighting for, contact us immediately. Remember to give careful attention to the selection of an attorney, as proper representation can make a substantial difference in the outcome of your case. I hope we have the opportunity to speak soon.
Peter H. Lederman, Esq.