Being arrested for driving while intoxicated in New Jersey can be a frightening experience for any driver. With the penalties that accompany a conviction including hefty fines, a driver’s license suspension, surcharges, fees and possible jail time, it’s natural to be intimidated. Hiring an attorney is supposed to assuage all those fears to a certain degree providing a defendant with the knowledge that at least they have someone who understands the law and is their advocate looking out for their best interests.
But there are times when defense attorneys make mistakes in a New Jersey DWI case. This can be due to inexperience or simple lack of attention to detail. When faced with DWI charges, there are certain things to look for when your attorney is handling the case and if these issues are not addressed, you are well within your rights to ask your attorney about them. It could be that he or she missed a step and will have a better chance of securing your acquittal if you point it out. In the end, you are the employer and have a right to question and mention certain concerns to your employee, the lawyer. The following are mistakes that are made by attorneys in a DWI case.
Mistake: Being Overtly Negative
An attorney who is not putting up a positive front in a DWI case is probably not the attorney you want to pay for his or her services. It can be difficult to win a DWI case in New Jersey, but being negative about it before going through all the evidence and getting your side of the story could indicate a fait accompli attitude and lead the lawyer not to try as hard as possible to find a solution. Pleading guilty in a DWI case in New Jersey helps no one especially after you have already hired a lawyer. You could have pleaded guilty without the lawyer and saved the fees. Make sure the lawyer is working on the case and not looking to clear it.
Mistake: Not Looking Into The Arrest To Make Sure It Was Valid
Much like drivers have to follow rules of the road, law enforcement also has rules they must follow when making a traffic stop, conducting an investigation and making an arrest. For example, drivers might not be aware that police officers aren’t allowed to stop vehicles at random just because they feel like it. When a DWI stop is made, the vehicle had to have done something such as driving erratically to warrant the stop. When the officer investigates, the field sobriety tests must be given on even ground and conducted in a fair manner. With the breathalyzer test to determine blood alcohol content (BAC), the machine must be properly calibrated and the officer must be certified to give the test. A violation of any protocol is grounds for dismissal. If the lawyer doesn’t look into the specifics of the case, these issues might be missed.
Mistake: Not Investigating The Location Of The Arrest
As mentioned before, the field sobriety tests are important when a case is being made that a driver was committing DWI in New Jersey. Going to the scene of the arrest can give the attorney basis to say that there was no way the driver could conceivably have completed the field sobriety tests without looking drunk even if he or she hadn’t had a drop of alcohol. If there were rocks, holes or the site was on a hill, how could a driver complete the tests without falling over or losing balance? This must be pointed out.
Mistake: Not Consulting With Experts
This is a glaring mistake especially when there is a question regarding the results due to a medical issue or the arrest was a DUI for drugs. An expert’s goal is to provide enough reasonable doubt as to the prosecution’s assertions that the driver will be acquitted. When a driver is arrested and charged with DWI or DUI and says that there are reasons why the test came up as above the legal limit of 0.08% BAC, the field sobriety tests were failed or the blood test came up as having a certain drug in the system, it must be investigated. It could be the difference between acquittal and conviction.
Drivers Facing DWI Charges Need To Be Involved
Simply because a person is an attorney doesn’t mean they’re keeping close tabs on the entirety of a case. Mistakes are common and they often mean the difference between a person getting off and not having to face the consequences of a DWI charge and being convicted, having to pay the fees, fines and possible jail time with a DWI conviction. There’s nothing wrong with keeping an eye on what the attorney is doing and pointing out what could be a mistake in the handling of the case. In the end, the attorney is still your employee and you’re paying for a service. There’s no reason not to try and get the best possible representation you can. Sometimes a mistake is just a mistake and can be rectified.