DUI Dismissed On Speedy Trial Violation
- June 16, 2016
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In State v. Cahill, the defendant faced a driving under the influence (DUI) charge after being found guilty of assault by auto charges stemming from the same event. It was established that Michael Cahill consumed alcohol at a bar, later drove from the bar, swerved to avoid an obstacle in the road, crossed two lanes of traffic and collided with a police car causing injuries to the officer. Following a conviction and sentencing in the death by auto matter, the Superior Court judge remanded the driving while intoxicated charge to municipal court for disposition. A full 16 months later, Michael Cahill received notice from the municipal court that his matter had been scheduled for trial. Through counsel, he filed a motion to dismiss based on the court’s failure to uphold his right to a speedy trial. The municipal court judge denied the motion and Cahill appealed after entering a conditional guilty plea. The NJ Superior Court held that Cahill’s right to a speedy trial was violated under the particular circumstances of the matter and vacated the sentence after a review of the matter based on the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Barker v. Wingo. In Barker v. Wingo, the US Supreme Court established a four factor balancing test to determine whether a defendant’s right to a speedy trial was upheld. In the instant case, the NJ Superior Court found the 16 month delay was held to be too lengthy, without good cause, and prejudicial to the defendant who suffered anxiety over the prospect of the trail as well as limited his employment alternatives based on the likelihood he would be found guilty at trial. The decision to dismiss the DWI charge was upheld by the NJ Appellate Division and the NJ Supreme Court and Cahill’s sentence was vacated. Driving under the influence charges carry significant consequences including loss of driving privileges for 7-12 months for a first offense, 2 years for a second offense and ten years for a third or subsequent offense as well as substantial fines and penalties, the inability to work and the social stigma that is associated with DUI. There are ways that an attorney can help you, even if you think you will be found guilty and it is always critical that you consult with an experienced traffic attorney prior to deciding whether to enter into a guilty plea for DUI. For more information about DUI/DWI, reckless driving and other serious traffic court matters, visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of counsel.