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DUI Case Opens Door To Further Discovery In Municipal Court

DUI Case Opens Door To Further Discovery In Municipal Court

Pursuant to the N.J. Supreme Court’s ruling in State v. Stein, a driving under the influence (DUI) (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) matter, municipal court prosecutors must turn over evidence from all jurisdictions involved in an arrest. The N.J. Supreme Court’s ruling overturned both the trial and Appellate Division rulings on the matter. Robert Stein was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Route 23 in Wayne and a Pequannock officer was the first to respond to the scene. Later Wayne officers relieved the Pequannock officer. Stein was ultimately charged with driving while intoxicated, as a third offender, and found guilty in the municipal court and the N.J. Superior Court, Law Division, Passaic County. He was also charged with careless driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4-97). Stein was sentenced to 180 days in the Passaic County Jail; 10 year loss of driving privileges; 48 hours at the Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center; required to install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle and substantial fines. Justice Albin drafted the opinion including that Rule 7:7-7(b) requires the municipal prosecutor to provide all relevant evidence, including that from other jurisdictions and the names of officers in possession of knowledge pertaining to the alleged incident. The N.J. Supreme Court agreed with Stein’s argument that any inculpatory evidence could also be exculpatory and needed to be turned over. In Stein’s case, he did not raise or preserve the issue of the failure of the Wayne Municipal Prosecutor to turn over the name of the Pequannock officer for appeal. However, the ruling is relevant and could prove beneficial to those facing charges in municipal court. DUI charges, whether for alcohol or drugs, are very serious and can lead to incarceration and loss of driving privileges up to ten years. If you are facing charges for DUI it is critical that you obtain experienced defense counsel immediately. For more information about DUI, DUID, controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in a motor vehicle, refusal to submit to chemical breath tests, reckless driving or other serious motor vehicle charges in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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