When Can A New Jersey DWI Defendant Get A Trial By Jury?

As the law stands today, DWI defendants in New Jersey cannot have their case heard by a jury, only a judge.

This is because DWI is not classified as a criminal charge in the state, only as a traffic violation.

Cases are heard in municipal courts and judges evaluate the evidence and render a verdict.

The state claims that this keeps costs down, but as legislators have piled more and more penalties on to drivers convicted of DWI, some are making the case that if the penalties can rival that of a criminal charge in severity, then the state must allow for jury trials in DWI cases.

With an ever-expanding constellation of incarceration, fines, fees, surcharges, and lengthy suspensions of driver’s licenses, the penalties people face for a DWI in New Jersey are similarly disabling to the ones faced by people in states who incarcerate DWI offenders.

Ideas for reform of the system are being debated now, and the New Jersey Supreme Court is considering arguments in a case that specifically asserts the right to a jury trial in the case of a man convicted of a fourth DWI.

Change is likely coming to New Jersey’s DWI system, but in the meantime, your best defense is an experienced DWI attorney.

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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