November 16, 2010

Stalker Lidar Lasar (Radar) Speed Measurement Device No Proof of Scientific Reliability

In State v Green, the Appellate Division held that the the Stalker Lidar speed measurement device has not yet shown to be scientifically reliable. Consequently, the speed reading, or the clocked speed, captured by this device may not be used as proof of speed. Stalker Lidar is a lasar speed measurement device as opposed to a radar based technology. It is becoming increasingly popular amongst police departments, including some notable Essex and Hudson County departments that issue a large volume of speeding tickets. Port Authority Police are also know to frequently use Stalker Lidar.

Usually, speed measurement devices used to clock the speed of a driver will be accepted by the trial court as scientifically reliable, i.e. K-55 Radar. However, scientific reliability is only one aspect of admissibility. In addition, there must be proof that the machine was properly calibrated and sufficiently tested both prior to and and the conclusion of the officer's tour. Moreover, the State must show that the operator of the device had sufficient training and operated the radar properly.

This door has opened for speeding ticket defense lawyers on this one. However, the overwhelming likelihood is that it will close quickly. If you have been issued a speeding ticket, you should at least consult with a speeding ticket lawyer to discuss not only the availability of this defense, but others as well.

November 15, 2010

Expungement of Criminal Records for Convinctions in New Jersey

If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you may be eligible to have that record sealed through a legal process called an expungement. An expungement is a petition that is filed with the court on behalf of the individual seeking to clean his record. The petition must be in the proper form and comply with the rules as promulgated by the expungement statute. The process is paperwork intensive and requires a fairly substantial attention to detail.

Additionally, not everyone with a conviction on his record is eligible for an expungement. N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 sets forth the requirements. The statute is confusing and the various subsections of the expungement statute mingle to produce some unusual and illogical results.

On many occasions I have spoken to potential clients who have attempted to file expungement petitions on their own. They have contacted me after having the petition denied for a procedural defect. This, of course, was after hours and hours toiling to complete the complicated paperwork and prepare all the mailing to the various agencies to be notified. This happens frequently.

That is why it is my opinion that a potential expungement petitioner looking to clear his or her record should minimally contact a New Jersey expungement attorney prior to making any decisions and with questions regarding eligibility.

I am available 24/7 for a free consultation.

November 2, 2010

Terroristic Threats Charge Amended to Municipal Ordinance Violation

A recently represented a defendant charged with a serious third degree criminal offense called terroristic threats in violation of NJSA 2C:12-3. This is an indictable criminal offense (felony). The case started out at the Essex County Superior Court. After discussions with the AP, the case was remanded to the Newark Municipal Court and initially downgraded to a petty disorderly persons offense called harassment.

After a few months of discovery issues, a police report was finally produced. One of the big problems that the State had was that one of the main witnesses was an identified person that the state conceded could not be located. However, the conduct in question was mainly directed a the police officers involved, so there was certainly questions on both sides as to the outcome at trial.

After negotiations, the State agreed to recommend that my client plead guilty to a municipal ordinance violation. This is not a criminal offense and does not appear on a criminal record. It is typically assessed as a fine only. Given where the defendant started, he was very happy with the outcome.

November 2, 2010

Tailgating violation Reduced to No Point Non-Moving Obstruction of a Passageway

One of the most serious traffic offenses a motorist can be issued a ticket for is tailgating. tailgating is a violation of NJSA 39:4-89. If convicted of a tailgating violation, the defendant will be assessed five (5) motor vehicle points. From time to time, the state police and local police departments will implement initiatives to enforce the tailgating laws.

The legislature has indicated how serious this offense is by imposing such stiff penalties upon conviction. To put this in perspective, a motorist who exceeds the speed limit by 30 mph and over is also subject to five points and a potential loss of license. This offense is in the same category in terms of seriousness. Making matters worse, case law has adopted a very generous analysis of what consitutes a tailgaiting offense. For example, in Pagano v. McClammy, 159 N.J. Super. 581 (1978), a defendant who drove 40 miles mph and followed another vehicle for a distance of approximately 15 to 20 feet was tailgating.

Nonetheless, when a defendant is charged with a serious speeding offense, the likelihood that her attorney will be able to negotiate a zero (0) point amendment is highly uncertain. But I have found that I can make arguments in connection with tailgating offenses that frequently result in very advantageous outcomes for my client.

One such result was reached earlier this week when I was able to successfully negotiate the amendment of a tailgating offense to a zero point non-moving violation with a fine imposed of $56.

For more information regarding tailgating, we can be reached at the contact number above.

October 14, 2010

What are the Fines and Penalties for DWI in New Jersey?

This is a synopsis of fines, fees, loss of license, IDRC, ignition interlock, jail, surcharges, etc, for all levels of NJSA 39:4-50 conviction and most refusal offenses in New Jersey. Remember that the exact penalties you face will depend on the facts of your particular case and DWI history. Therefore, this table is only a guide:

First Offense DWI BAC .08% or more but less than .10% or operating under the influence of alcohol:

1)Fine $250-$400
2)VCCB $50
3)DDEF $100
4)SNSF $75
5)NJSA 39:4-50(i) $100
6)Surcharges $1000 per year for three years ($3000)
7)3 month loss of license (suspension)
8)12 to 48 hrs in the IDRC, Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (have to pay for the
9)Possible Imposition of Ignition Interlock, must pay for installation and monitoring.
10) up to 30 days in jail
11)$100 restoration fee for reinstatement of license at end of suspension

First Offense DWI BAC .10% or more or under the influence of drugs/narcotics/CDS:

1) Fine $300-$500
2) All others fines the same as above
3) 7 month to 1 year loss of license
4) Imposition of ignition interlock mandatory if BAC 0.15% and above for all cars owned
or regularly operated by defendant.
5) Possible jail time the same as above.

Second Offense DWI, BAC .08% and Above or Under the Influence or Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Breath Test (second or first following DWI conviction)

1) Fine $500-$1000
2) All other fines same as above
3) Jail of not less than 48 hrs and not more than 90 days. (48 hrs can be served in IDRC program-overnight stay)
4) 30 days community service
5)Mandatory installation of Ignition Interlock for not less than one year after the period of suspension.
6) If convicted of refusal and DWI, 2 year suspension on both offenses, with the suspensions to run consecutively (4yrs total possible).

Third or Subsequent DWI BAC .08 BAC or Greater or Under the Influence or Refusal (following DWI conviction):

1) $1000 fine
2) All other fines same as above
3) Incarceration of not less than 180 days
4) 10 year license suspension
6) Mandatory installation of ignition interlock same as second offender
7) If convicted of refusal also, 10 year additional suspension to run consecutive to DWI

Fines, fees, and treatment as a subsequent offense may vary depending on certain factors, so it is important to consult a lawyer to verify the penalties you may face in your particular circumstances.

October 13, 2010

Radar, Speeding Ticket, Calibration of Gun, New Jersey Requirements

In State v Dantonio, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the evidence of radar speed meter readings should be received into evidence upon a showing that the radar was properly set up and tested by the police officer. Similarly, the Appellate Division held in State v Wojtkowiak that the K-55 radar device is completely reliable as a speed measuring device. Likewise, laser radar devices and Vascar have also been accepted by the courts as being scientifically reliable.

HOWEVER, the scientific reliability of the radar device is only one part of the proofs the state must offer during trial for the radar speed reading to be admitted into evidence. In addition to proving the reliability of the device, the state must prove that the device wasproperly calibrated and operated by a trained and experienced police operator.

For example, in connection with the K-55 radar instrument, the state should adduce evidence as to the specific training and extent of experience of the police officer operating the radar, the calibration of the machine prior to stopping the defendant through the use of tuning forks, which should also be independently calibrated, and the calibration of the speedometer in the patrol car if the K-55 is operated in moving mode.

Although the proofs necessary for admissibility are similar with laser radar units, there are some slight differences. However, evidence of calibration is still required. In addition, should the radar be employed during a period of snow or heavy rain, the state may be required to introduce expert testimony as to the reliability of the instrument. Moreover, the state must elicit proof that the officer performed the pre-operational procedures as recommended by the manufacturer prior to use. In most instances, testimony and documents pertaining to the testing and accuracy of the radar prior to and after the police officer's shift may be introduced, similar to all speeding ticket prosecutions.

Basically, the state must prove that the officer was qualified to operated the radar, that the radar was in proper working order, and that is is the type of radar that has been accepted as scientifically reliable without the need for expert testimony.

This is a simple summary, but practical nonetheless. I can be contacted for more information on fighting New Jersey speeding ticket

October 5, 2010

Charged with Being Under the Influence of Drugs, Marijuana, Cocaine

Under NJSA 2C:35-10(b), an individual is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if he is under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance. One is not guilty of being under the influence of CDS if the substance has been lawfully prescribed by a physician and is being taken in accordance with that prescription.

It is important to note that in order to obtain a conviction under this section, the state need not prove that the defendant was under the influence of any specific drug. A conviction can be sustained by proving that the accused did manifest physical and psychological symptoms or reactions caused by the use of any controlled dangerous substance.

The interesting aspect of these cases is whether the testimony of the officer regarding his opinion about the condition of the defendant at the time of arrest is admissible as a lay witness opinion or as expert testimony. For example, in certain DWI prosecutions involving drug related intoxication, the state must offer expert testimony regarding the manifestations of drug induced intoxication.

From an attorney's prospective, I always argue that the state must put an expert on the stand to prove that the defendant was under the influence. Although the state need not prove the specific narcotic involved, they must prove that the defendant exhibited the symptoms consistent with a drug induced condition. I always argue that a police officer is not qualified to make this determination unless he/she has some type of specific training to do so. For example, a drug recognition expert.

This offense is categorically the same as being charged with simple possession. Therefore, a defendant who is convicted of this offense will be subject to all the same penalties, including loss of license, jail time, and heavy fines. Accordingly, if you have been arrested and charged with the New Jersey drug offense of being under the influence, you should take all the steps necessary to defend yourself against the charges.

October 3, 2010

Contesting a Disorderly Conduct Charge In Newark New Jersey

Disorderly conduct is violation of NJSA 2C:33-2. A NJ disorderly conduct offense is a petty disorderly offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. It is an offense that will appear on your record if you are convicted. One can commit the offense in basically one of two ways.

First, the statute penalizes language (public) that is so offensive and course to the hearer that it would constitute a breach of the peace. Sound confusing? Well, although this section of the statute has not been repealed, I cannot recall ever losing a case where my client was charged with disorderly conduct under this section. This is because it is subject to constitutional freedom of speech defenses. In fact, there are court decisions which specifically address this issue. However, the offense is still frequently charged, typically when a citizen becomes involved in an oral argument with law enforcement. The bottom line is this type of offense is extremely defensible, and should be contested zealously by your lawyer.

Secondly, one can be arrested and charged with NJ disorderly conduct if there are allegations that the individual cause public annoyance, inconvenience, or alarm, or reckless risk thereof by fighting, threatening violent behavior, creating a dangerous or hazardous condition by doing some type of act that has no legitimate purpose. Typically if you are charged with disorderly conduct, you will likely be charged under this subsection. The state has the same type of issues with this type of disorderly conduct. There is a lot of gray area. The statute is vague, and a little unclear. Therefore, there are typically a multitude of defenses that an experience criminal defense lawyer can raise. I have a very high success rate defending those charged with this offense.

Remember, if you are convicted, this charge will go on your record. I understand that not everyone can afford to hire a private lawyer. But if you can, it would be wise to seek out a consultation and speak with qualified counsel.

October 1, 2010

Newark Criminal Defense Shoplifting Case Study

Sometimes convention goes out the window. I am currently representing a young client charged with shoplifting. Upon making our initial appearance, it became apparent that the alleged victim in the case, the store where he worked, was not interested in making any positive recommendations to the prosecutor as far as a disposition is concerned.

It may come as a surprise to some that the alleged victim frequently has an active role in the pre-trial negotiations. In many cases, the position of the victim is the most important consideration for the state in making an initial plea offer.

In this particular case, the prosecutor was not willing to downgrade the offense because of the store's position.

I scheduled the case for trial. However, on my way out I stopped the representative of the store to discuss the case. She was a very nice and reasonable person who explained to me that she did not have the authority to work the case out. I presented my position and she said she would talk to her superiors.

Thankfully, I received a call from general counsel for the store the next day and we had a great conversation. I am very confident that I will be able to get a great outcome for my client while at the same time providing the store with the type of reassurances that it needs.

This is really the best way to work these matters out and I am always excited when it happens. It embodies the concept of advocate. It is truly satisfying when individuals on opposites side of the table take the time to listen and come up with a resolution that benefits both parties.

Although it does not always happen this way, I always make sure to pursue this option, especially if the the facts of the case are not in my favor. It takes more time and more effort, but well worth it when their is a meeting of the minds and the product is a reasonable and favorable disposition.

October 1, 2010

TWIC, Transportation Worker Identification Credentials Attorney, Lawyer for TWIC Appeal

One of the effects of the 9-11 attacks was the development of the Homeland Security Administration and many new laws which are aimed at protecting national security. Many of these laws are directed at the transportation industry. The Transportation Security Administration was created to oversee and enforce many of these laws. Truck drivers, holders of commercial drivers license (CDL) individuals with HAZMAT endorsements, etc., are now subject to additional requirements to obtain and keep a CDL or other important endorsements to that CDL.

One such requirement that can be imposed is TWIC, transportation worker identification credentials. This is typically required when a driver has access to "secure" areas. The application and renewal process is explained more fully at the TSA website.

The TSA employs a screening process to determine if a truck driver is eligible for his/her TWIC credential. I person can be denied TWIC for a number of reasons. One of the most common reason is criminal grounds. Under the TWIC laws, an individual can be denied TWIC if he has been convicted of a qualifying criminal offense. If the TSA determines that such an offense has been committed, the individual will be sent a Initial Determination of Threat Assessment or IDTA.

The IDTA alerts the applicant that their application or renewal application will be denied barring a successful appeal.

Although certain criminal offenses can result in an absolute denial, the overwhelming majority of criminal convictions are subject to waiver, which means if the appeal is succesful, the TSA will withdraw the IDTA and provide the applicant with TWIC. The appeals process is not easy. It requires a submission of a lengthy brief and an analysis of the law as it pertains to the individual.

I have represented many individuals in connection with these appeals and have had great success. On almost every occasion, I have been contacted by a truck driver who is completely surprised by the IDTA. In some instances, the subject criminal convictions are years old. The importance of winning the appeal is paramount when one considers the alternatives. If my client does not get his TWIC, he faces the prospect of losing his job, his health benefits, home, etc.

I can help. To date, I have not lost an appeal. If you have any more questions, I can be contacted.

September 29, 2010

Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Provide Discovery

One of the most important aspects of a municipal court criminal or traffic matter is the discovery process. Rule 7:7-7provides the defendant with the absolute right to receive discovery consistent with the rule. Remember, the pertinent discovery must be requested in the proper manner proscribed by the rules.

In most cases, including DWI and drug charges, the state will rely upon police reports, lab certificates of analysis, chain of custody documents, alcotest readings, etc. to prove the case. A such, a defendant is entitled to information that the state plans to rely upon. Additionally, a defendant is entitled to exculpatory evidence. The rules of court and case law enumerate specific items that should be provided to a defendant in a prosecution. In addition, the defendant can always ask for and is entitled to relevant discovery.

The question is what happens when that discovery is requested but not provided. In State v Holup, the Superior Court of New Jersey examined this issue and proscribed the proper procedure for counsel to follow when such a situation arises.

Ordinarily, a court should not dismiss a case for failure to produce discovery. However, the Court in Holup held that if the appropriate motion is filed giving notice the your adversary that discovery has not been received, with a request that a time be set by the court for the production of said discovery, then a failure to do so after the time allotted may lead to a dismissal of the charges upon application by counsel.

This is an important decision because it recognizes that the discovery process is probably the number one reasons why court cases drag on and on and on. Multiple appearances by counsel and litigant can lead to skyrocketing legal fees, transportation cost, expert witness fees, waste of time, and can result in prejudice to either party.

I know this to be the case because I practice nothing but criminal and traffic defense law (and some immigration). Accordingly, I make it a habit to always file a Holup motion early on in the case to set an appropriate time limit for the state to produce the discovery.

This is also why I get SO incredibly frustrated when a judge signs one of these Orders only to wimp out on enforcing the Order, essentially assisting the state in the production of discovery (which is strictly barred) by giving the state more time.

Just today I appeared in a municipal court (name omitted) where this happened. To make matters worse, after making my motion to dismiss, the judge would not set a new time limit to produce discovery. This was after he signed an Order limiting the time for production, an Order that was 20 days overdue.

What are the options when this happens? Appeal. The defendant certainly has the right to an interlocutory appeal from a decision such as this. But that can result in more lawyers fees and court expenses. In this particular instance, although the appeal will take MANY additional hours, I may do it pro bono, as my client is not in a position to fund it. The ruling was not fair and should be overturned.

September 25, 2010

Florida Residents and New Jersey Traffic Violations

Florida is a party to the Interstate Driver's Compact. This means that if you are a licensed (driver) in FL, any motor vehicle traffic summons, violations, tickets, etc. you receive in New Jersey will potentially transfer to FL if you are convicted.

Additionally, although New Jersey may assess a certain amount of points for any given violation, FL will assess points to your license according to its point schedule. For example, a violation of NJSA 39:97.2, unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, is a zero point ticket in NJ. However, in Florida, it is a 4 points ticket. Many out of state residents make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who does not do the necessary research before going to court. Unsafe operation is a common plea bargain. A lawyer may think, and may tell you, that you will not get points in FL. This is not true.

The only tickets that do not result in points in FL are non-moving violations. There are number of non-moving, no point violations in Title 39 (NJ). The more experienced your traffic ticket lawyer is, the more aware he will be of these options.

For the foregoing reasons, it is wise to always consult with NJ counsel before pleading guilty to a ticket if you are an out of state resident. Doing so may save you from unforeseen consequences, such points on your license, insurance hikes, license suspension, etc.

September 17, 2010

Avoiding Jail for a Third or Subsequent DWI Offense Case Study

I am presently defending a client who is charged with his fourth DWI offense. His third offense occurred in 1992. As a third or subsequent driving while intoxicated defendant, he would normally be facing a mandatory 180 county jail sentence. The facts of the DWI arrest are fairly straight forward. However, he is also charged with a refusal offense, making matters worse.

In many instances, avoiding jail time is the most important consideration for an individual who is facing similar charges. Therefore, one of the first task I take on when representing a client charged with a third, fourth, or fifth DWI offense is to see if there is a way to avoid jail time, EVEN if there is ultimately a conviction.

Well, you might be wondering how this is accomplished if jail is mandatory for a third or subsequent. First, a NJ DWI lawyer who understands driving while intoxicated laws will see if it is possible to challenge the prior convictions. In some instances, a conviction can be completely vacated, meaning washed away. More frequently, counsel may be able to obtain an Order from the prior court stating that the prior conviction can not be used to enhance the custodial portion of a subsequent offense. In that case, the subsequent court could only impose jail time up to the maximum sentence for the prior conviction. For example, if you were facing a third conviction, and I obtained an Order from the court of first conviction, then you could only be sentenced to a maximum of 90 days in jail (the maximum for a second offender). However, since the custodial portion of a second offense is not mandatory, the court does not have to send you to jail. In just about every case that I have handled and obtained similar relief, the sentencing court for the subsequent conviction has not sentenced my client to jail.

REMEMBER, this relief does not apply to the administrative penalties of the subsequent offense UNLESS the prior conviction is COMPLETELY VACATED. This means that as a third offender, you may not go to jail, but you would still lose your license for ten years. In order to be treated as a full step lower than the present offense the defendant must either have ten years between the present offense and the prior, OR the prior conviction must be completely vacated.

Now here is the complicated part. In my case, my client was charged as a fourth offender. I went to back to the first court and successfully argued that the conviction could not be used to enhance the custodial portion of a subsequent offense. However, this alone was not good enough. Why? Because he would only get the benefit of being treated as one offense lower for jail purposes. This means he would be sentenced as a third. This means a mandatory jail sentence of 180 days.

But....there were ten years between the third and the fourth. The statute, as it applies to the ten-year step down, does not address fourth offenders. It only mentions second an thirds. In comes State v Conroy. In this case, the court makes clear that a fourth offender does get the benefit of the step-down even if the statute does not explicitly say so. Therefore, in my case, my client is now a third offender for sentencing purposes. Ordinarily, this would not make a difference, still mandatory six months. But since I had my "Laurick" Order, the court may not sentence him to more than 90 days, and jail is not mandatory. As a result, and with some good lawyering, he will most likely avoid jail all together. He is still facing the 10 year loss of license.

Given the fact of the underlying DWI offense, he is very pleased with the result. I can be reached for more information on this procedure and DWI arrest in general.

September 9, 2010

Report Shows New Jersey More Likely to Deport Non-Criminal Immigrants

In a recent article published in the Star-Ledger, a study was presented showing that New Jersey is more likely to deport non-criminal illegal immigrants than any other state.

Typically speaking, I am advocating on behalf of those people who are not citizens and have been convicted of a criminal offense. As the over criminalization of America continues, the number of offenses that can lead to deportation seems to increase each year. In the overwhelming majority of the cases that I handle, my client is in the country legally, frequently as a legal permanent resident. Nonetheless, a relatively minor offense can lead to removal proceedings.

What one must remember is that having legal status in this country at least affords the individual some due process rights, including a hearing. As the legality of the immigrant's presence dwindles, so do those rights.

So the questions really is this: Is it fair? A man/woman is here illegally, is pulled over for a suspended license, and then is removed from the country. There obviously is nothing criminal about that act, but illegal nonetheless. Actually, the act itself is irrelevant, other than the fact that it provides a valid reason for the police to have contact with an illegal immigrant.

Is it fair to require the adherence to a strict application process for admission into the U.S.A.? Is it unfair for our government to put restrictions on our borders? Is the a reciprocity of benefit that our illegal immigrant population (on a whole) provides outweigh the interest of government in securing our borders and enforcing immigration laws?

Frankly, I do not know the answers. But I do know that our system sometimes ( in this context) produces some very fair and just results, and sometimes it doesn't. In some ways, that is the answer in a nutshell. There is no perfect system. No group of people is always going to be treated fairly all of the time. Some groups of people are given preferential treatment. Others are discriminated against.

As we work to solve the political and social problems of our country, I give pause at the prospect of a great middle ground, where everything and everyone is blurred into a slurry of equality bound by the rule of law.

In the practice of law, I find that true justice is achieved when the rules, as imperfect as they may be, are applied to the individual and the unique facts that each individual case presents. The temptation of the government actor is to generalize and group together categories of problems and people, and apply justice like a formula would apply to a geometry problem.

How does this tie into the whole immigration debate? Well, I guess my point is that the system is never going to work perfectly for everyone. It is as imperfect as people themselves. But the legal framework in our country is designed to perfect justice for the individual. The role of the advocate is to make it so for his client. But when it comes to the immigration issue, those who are here illegally frequently get "blanket" justice, with little opportunity to exploit the legal system and the relief it could provide.

Right or wrong, that little piece of paper that says you are here legally is your ticket to ride. My advice would be to get your hands on one if you don't have it. Although immigration reform may be around the corner, there will always be a systematic bias against the individual who is here illegally. This is not to be confused with racial discrimination.

There will always be an easy out for the government to apply blanket justice to the illegal immigrant. The laws as the pertain to the illegal immigrant make it easy to deport once they get their hands on you. Be careful as we wish for uniformity of treatment because in this context it produce perverse results. Make it your right to be treated as an individual. Exploit the rules to work in your favor, and empower yourself with the knowledge to do it.

September 1, 2010

Client Facing Second Offense DWI Sentenced to Three Month Suspension

If you have been researching second offense DWI penalties in New Jersey, I am sure it is clear at this point that if you are convicted as a second offender, you face a mandatory 2 year loss of license in New Jersey.

I represented a client charged with his second offense. His prior offense happened in 2004 so he was not eligible for the "10 year step-down." His case presented some interesting issues, but the facts were not in his favor. However, when facing punishment as a second or subsequent DWI defendant, the court leaves you little choice other than to go to trial.

In this particular case, there was a strong possibility that if we went to trial and lost, the state would be asking for jail time, and I was inclined to believe the court would impose it.

That being the backdrop, I decided to petition the court that convicted him on the first occasion for post-conviction relief. Under normal circumstances, a post-conviction relief application in the DWI context will simply limit subsequent court's ability to impose prison time, but does not vacate the conviction. However, I was able to identify issues with his plea proceeding that allowed me to argue that the conviction should be completely vacated. I argued my motion and was successful. His first conviction was vacated.

On the day that we were scheduled for trial on the second offense, I informed the court that I had obtained relief. This case had a long procedural history. I was prepared to argue a motion to suppress and go directly to trial. Since the conviction was vacated, the court conceded that the defendant would have to be sentenced as a first offender, but was still facing up to a year loss of license because of his readings and the facts of the case.

However, I was able to identify issues with the Alcotest readings, mainly procedural aspects of the administration, and the court suppressed those readings. The effect was that he no longer was a per se offender, and they court could only suspend his license for three months.

This result was outstanding and my client was ecstatic.