No Alternative To Jail For Driving While Suspended For DUI
- April 10, 2015
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Anthony Frezza was charged with operating a motor vehicle while suspended for multiple driving under the influence (DUI) (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) charges pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b) after being stopped on the Atlantic City Expressway in the early morning hours of February 4, 2012. Pursuant to the statute, the requisite sentence is 180 days in jail without parole with no sentencing discretion afforded to the court. After a trial in State v. Frezza at which the defendant was found guilty, the municipal court judge sentenced Frezza to 180 days in jail without parole with alternatives including house arrest. The State cross-appealed and appeal filed by Frezza challenging the sufficiency of evidence. The NJ Appellate Division relied on State v. Pitcher, 379 N.J. Super. 308, 319 (App. Div. 2005) in holding that Frezza’s motor vehicle record was admissible as prima facie evidence that he was suspended for driving while intoxicated (DWI) at the time he was stopped and admitted to driving while suspended. Frezza was serving a suspension for a second DUI offense and, pursuant to State v. Cuccurullo, 228 N.J. Super. 517, 520-21 (App. Div. 1988), a driver is suspended for DUI when the sentence is imposed, even if the driver is still serving a suspension for an earlier event. In State v. French, 437 N.J. Super. 333, 335-39 (App. Div. 2014), the court clarified that a 180 day jail sentence without parole is required and no sentencing alternatives are permissible. As a result, the NJ Appellate Division reversed the sentence and remanded for sentencing in conformance with the statutory requirements of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b). DWI charges, whether for alcohol or drugs, are very serious charges and can lead to loss of driving privileges up to 10 years as well as incarceration. Additionally, the newly created statute regarding driving while suspended for multiple DUI offenses guarantees a 6 month jail term. If you are facing charges or charges of driving while suspended for DUI it is critical that you obtain experienced defense counsel immediately. For more information about driving while suspended for DUI, DWI, 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 HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.