In New Jersey, most DUI and DWI cases don’t make it to trial. Instead the case is hashed out between the prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer. This is the pretrial phase. During this phase the defendant’s lawyer implements different tactics to get one of several results. These tactics include filing pretrial motions in NJ DUI cases in order to get necessary information that could help:
- drop your case
- dismiss your case
- reduce the charges
- or secure a plea bargain
What is a Pretrial Motion?
Motions made before the actual trial are pretrial motions. These motions are what actually moves a forward towards a bench trial, jury trial or dismissal of a case. There are several types of motions that can be filed in a DUI and/or criminal defense case in New Jersey. An experienced criminal defense attorney will begin evaluating the best motions to be filed usually during your initial consultation. Motions can speed up, slow down, and sometimes halt a case completely.
This article’s purpose is to provide information on the types of pretrial motions in NJ DUI cases that are commonly filed in a criminal defense case. Your attorney knows the best motions to file that will help your case.
Types of Pretrial Motions
Motion To Suppress Evidence
When a motion to suppress evidence is filed, the evidence in question there are usually several reasons for suppressing the evidence. The most common reason, is that the way the evidence was obtained violated the defendant’s right. The term, unreasonable search and seizure is often used in this instance.
Protection from unreasonable search and seizure is a right protected by the Constitution’s fourth amendment. This right is violated usually when a search happens without a warrant or probable cause.
When this motion is filed, you have to prove the violation of your 4th amendment rights.
Motion To Suppress Statements Because of A Miranda Violation
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
We’ve all heard this phrase in tv shows, movies, and if you’ve been arrested and interrogated before then you should have heard this statement or something very similar spoken to you by law enforcement. If you didn’t then there is very definite possibility that a miranda violation occurred. It’s important to remember that law enforcement does not have to read you your Miranda rights if they do not intend to interrogate you.
You have the right to invoke your Miranda rights at any point before or during an investigation. If you request to speak to a lawyer during the interrogation, then law enforcement is required to stop the interrogation.
Basic questions like your name, birthdate and address must be answered regardless of whether you use or waive your Miranda rights.
When a motion to suppress statements due to a miranda rights violation is filed, its usually because you many have made some self-incriminating statements during your interrogation without being fully aware of your right to remain silent and not speak until a lawyer is present.
Motion For Supplemental Discovery
Without a motion, the prosecution in DUI case will turn over basic evidence elated to your case to your lawyer. This is so that your lawyer can determine how strong the evidence is against you. In many cases a good lawyer will ask for addition information. This additional information can sometimes weaken the evidence against you and strengthen your defense.
Additional information can include the maintenance reports of the breathalyzer that was used to conduct the test. In addition to the review of the officer’s personnel file and a request to split the blood or urine sample.
It’s important to remember that a good lawyer can really use a motion for supplemental discovery as an effective weapon in your case. If the prosecution hasn’t properly preserved the evidence requested, your lawyer can request sanctions that would allow for the exclusion of evidence. For any of this to be really effective and aid in the defense of your case, hiring an experienced lawyer with extensive knowledge of the New Jersey court system is essential.
Motion For Blood or Urine Sample to Be Split
As discussed above, the motion for blood or urine sample to be split is apart of a well thought out discovery process. This motion requires the prosecution to provide a sample from the blood or urine sample that was taken during your arrest to your attorney for testing by an independent lab.
Motion To Review Arresting Officer’s Personnel File
In some cases, your attorney may request a motion to review arresting officer’s personnel file. The caveat to this is that not all parts of a personnel file is allowed for review, just the parts that pertain to the defendant’s complaint regarding the officer’s misconduct. This help’s the courts maintain a balance between the officer’s privacy and the defendant’s rights.
If there was officer misconduct during your arrest, and the officer has a history of similar misconduct in their file, this could greatly benefit your case.
Will My Case Go To Trial?
One of the most common questions we’re asked is if your DUI case will go to trial. In most instances, a DUI trial is rare, as the case is usually wrapped up in the pre-trial motions and hearings. If your case does go to trial, it is only before a municipal judge. There are no jury trials for DUI cases in New Jersey.
Hire A NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Today
There are a lot of steps that happen in a NJ DUI case before we even think about a trial. The different pre-trial motions can really break or make your case. The key is hiring an experienced New Jersey DUI attorney. The Law Office of Douglas Herring is well known for the successful and personable defense that we provide to every client in every case. We dedicate ourselves to making sure that you get the best results possible for your case.