D.W.I. CONVICTION OVERTURNED
Michael Mormando, an attorney at the law firm of Attorneys Hartman, Chartered, recently won a municipal appeal on behalf of his client’s D.W.I. case in the New Jersey Superior Court. The case was originally heard in municipal court, and then was heard in Superior Court on appeal. Michael won the appeal, and the evidence in the case has been suppressed.
HISTORY OF THE CASE
The defendant in the case (M.E.) had been traveling on a roadway in Burlington County, New Jersey, in the late evening/early morning hours. A New Jersey State Trooper observed M.E.’s car and, as he later testified, noticed that one of M.E.’s taillights was out (M.E.’s car did have three other taillights working properly). The Trooper then conducted a motor vehicle stop of M.E. After having been asked to exit the car, M.E. was eventually arrested for D.W.I.
The specific charges against (M.E.) included the following offenses:
- Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50;
- Failure to Maintain Lamps in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-66;
- Reckless Driving in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-96; and
- Obstructed Windshield in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-74.
The Municipal Court had denied M.E.’s motion to suppress. M.E. appealed that decision.
Mike argued that the State Trooper had no constitutional basis to stop M.E.’s car in the first place. While the trooper believed that his observation of one taillight out on M.E.’s car was enough reason to stop him, the trooper’s understanding of the law was incorrect. The law provides that a driver must have at least two working taillights (one on each side). Here, M.E. met the minimum requirements. Thus, the trooper was wrong about the law, should not have stopped M.E. for that reason. Ultimately, Mike was successful in convincing the Court that the State Trooper was mistaken about the law, and that the car stop was unconstitutional. Anything that occurred after the improper car stop is therefore suppressed.
The result of suppression of evidence in M.E.’s case will be that the entirety of his case will be dismissed. This was a tremendous outcome and our firm is pleased to have been able to achieve such a result for one of our clients. If you are facing D.W.I. charges, or any other criminal charge, and you believe your constitutional rights were violated, please contact Michael Mormando at the law firm of Attorneys Hartman, Chartered immediately. We can help.