In some DWI arrest, a defendant is also charged with Assault by auto if an accident is involved. This is typically a fourth degree offense, but the degree of the offense will depend upon the seriousness of the injury sustained by the victim. It surprises most to find out that this is an indictable/felony offense, and can carry significant jail time if convicted.
Making matters worse, many county prosecutors’ offices have instituted a no PTI policy for these types of offenses. PTI or pre-trial intervention is a diversionary program that affords certain defendant the opportunity to apply to the program and avoid conviction upon successful completion. However, since this offense is not a “victimless” offense, many times the defendant will not be eligible.
Over the last 15 to 20 years, DWI laws in New Jersey have become very stringent. Lobbyist groups such as MADD have been instrumental in the passage of tough DWI laws. DWI prosecutions are closely monitored by both state law enforcement agencies and interest groups. Therefore, a hard-line stance by the state is generally the rule. It is important to take steps early on in the process to ensure that you are doing the right things to put yourself in the best possible position. Contacting an attorney who is familiar with the Essex County municipality and the County Courthouse where your case will be heard is the first step in the process.
I offer free consultations to all those who have been charged with DWI, vehicular assault, and all other alcohol related traffic and criminal offenses. Take the time to educate yourself, and make your decisions accordingly.