Judge Rules That past DWIs Cannot Be Considered in Future Reckless Accidents

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Are you concerned that if you’re involved in an accident in which someone claims you were responsible that your past criminal record, and in particular your DUIs, could be used against you?

Being accused of DWI in New Jersey is an unnerving experience and a recent decision from a judge indicates just how important it is to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney in New Jersey as soon as possible after you have been accused of a DWI.

According to a state appellate ruling that recently came down within New Jersey, a drunk driver’s past convictions for DWI cannot be used to illustrate that someone who has been charged with death by auto is reckless. A trial judge refused to admit into evidence two prior DWI convictions for a man who was ultimately charged with death by auto. At the time of the fatal accident caused by the defendant in that particular case, the person accused had a blood alcohol level of 0.210%. The court indicated that this was enough to establish recklessness on its own, since the prosecutors must establish that an individual was engaged in reckless driving to prove vehicular homicide.

Prosecutors also tried to bring in previous convictions for DWI affecting that defendant in 2009 and 1998, but the trial judge rejected this and this decision was upheld by the appellate court. According to state rules related to evidence, prior bad acts cannot be used to illustrate that a person behaved badly in the present. However, it can be used for other purposes, such as the absence of mistake or accident, preparation, knowledge, plan, intent, opportunity, or proof of murder.

If you have recently been accused of DWI, it is in your best interests to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. James M. Porfido, Attorney at Law is there to help you and provide you with more information about what to do next. Contact the Law Offices of James M. Porfido at (973) 370-9788 or via his online contact form to get started on your case today.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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