In New Jersey, DWI is treated as a municipal offense and therefore is heard at a municipal court before a judge, there is no jury. Despite the fact that a DWI can tie you down with some very severe penalties, your fate will be decide by a single person.
Some attorneys in the area use this as an excuse to take the easy way out by and pleaing guilty. They never have the intent to take the case to trial.
My philosophy is very different and has helped me get successful outcomes for my clients. My default position is to take the case to trial because I have found a number of advantages in this approach:
- Taking the case to trial allows you to take a critical look at the evidence and see how strong it is. There are many ways to challenge the evidence in a DWI case and if one is stressful in challenging a key piece of evidence, the entire case can fall apart quickly after that.
- By making the prosecutor work for the case you may be able to push them to get a better deal. Many times prosecutors are strapped for resources and try to avoid going to trial. If they see a well prepared attorney with a strong courtroom reputation, they sometimes cave in and offer a very favorable deal which they would not have offered if the threat of going to trial was not hanging over their head.
- Taking the case to trial many times results in a "not guilty" verdict. This type of outcome would not be possible if you plea guilty early on in the process.
- Even if you lose the trial, you have the opportunity to appeal the case to a higher case if there is an issue you feel needs to be reviewed.
If you are serious about defending your rights, you should search for a lawyer who regularly takes cases to trial and has the knowledge and reputation to protect you.
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