New Jersey Supreme Court Affirms: No Right To Jury Trial in DWI Prosecutions

A New Jersey man who challenged his fourth DWI conviction all the way to the state’s Supreme Court finally got a ruling last week. James Denelsbeck was facing a 180-day mandatory jail sentence, plus thousands of dollars in fees and fines. Because of the severity of the punishment, Denelsbeck requested a trial by jury, which was denied on the grounds that DWI cases are traffic matters, not criminal prosecutions.

Denelsbeck argued that the punishments for his conviction were comparable to those of a crime. The New Jersey Supreme Court disagreed, declaring that DWI prosecutions remain a matter for municipal courts. This approach to DWI is unique among the states, with most treating them as criminal matters. People convicted of DWI in New Jersey will not have a criminal record, but do face a number of penalties over a period of years when they are convicted.

There are defenses for DWI charges in New Jersey. If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, talk to an experienced DWI attorney today. Matthew Reisig has helped more than 1,040 New Jersey drivers avoid conviction on DWI charges. Call 732-625-9660 today for a free consultation.

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