NJ Supreme Court Decides State v Cassidy and Invalidates Alcotest for Over 20,000 Defendants in Trooper Marc Dennis Cases
The long awaited decision will provide an opportunity for thousands convicted of DWI in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 based on an Alcotest reading of .08 and above to file for post-conviction relief or to withdraw a guilty plea. Our firm predicts that this decision will most impact certain categories of DWI cases:
- Those with pending DWI charges in the Municipal or Superior Court where the offense is a second, third fourth or more. In these cases, the possibility of jail time and long suspension can be averted by reopening and winning the prior Marc Dennis related case
- Those with indictable driving while suspended charges pending in the Superior Court for driving with a suspended license as a result of a second or subsequent DWI or driving while suspended as a result of a DWI and an accident with bodily injury, even if it is a first offense DWI conviction. N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 fully sets forth the penalties for this. Likewise, vacating the DWI conviction would negate the instant driving while suspended offense and help avoid the severe mandatory jail provision for this offense as well.
- Those with only one DWI conviction looking to ease surcharge and insurance premium penalties as a result of the conviction.
- Those currently serving custodial sentences and suspensions for DWI related convictions based on prior DWI offenses predicated on Marc Dennis calibrated Alcotest instruments.
Currently in our office, we are ahead of the curve, and have been filing appeal and post-conviction relief applications for many clients, arguing that convictions (both by plea and after trial) based on Marc Dennis calibrated Alcotest machines should be immediately vacated. We understood that the Supreme Court was likely to decide the way it did and we have many very timely motions pending.
You may have received a letter from the State some time ago advising that your conviction was subject to this issue. Many people who were convicted based on an improperly calibrated instrument may not know that relief is possible. Letters did not reach all the people. That is why we are encouraging anyone with a conviction for DWI to contact us. We have already helped many people determine if their case was appealable.
As it stands, the process to appeal will likely be as follows:
- If it is uncertain if the DWI conviction is a Dennis case, we will take the necessary steps to determine this, including discovery and transcript requests.
- We will file motions in each case, most will be to withdraw a guilty plea, and some will be for post-conviction relief.
- In the overwhelming amount of these cases, the court will have no choice but to vacate the conviction.
- At that point the State (prosecutor) will have to decide. Does the State want to go to trial and seek a conviction based on the observations, a much tougher case to prove? Or Does the State want to dismiss the DWI completely either based on the age of the case and difficulties prosecuting an older stale case? Remember, in the overwhelming majority of these cases, the defendant has already served the suspension. The issue will be the money that the State may have to return if these convictions are vacated in their entirety. Each DWI conviction results in the payment of thousands of dollars in fines, fees and surcharges.
Our firm has extensive experience throughout the State filing appeals and motions to vacate guilty pleas in both municipal and superior courts.
We also have tried DWI matters and won trials in courts across the State.
Are you ready to get your life back? Are you facing mandatory jail as a result of a prior DWI conviction? We can do for you what we have done for many before. Get you out of a bad spot.
The State v Cassidy decision is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many and the time is now.