If you have were found guilty of a DWI in New Jersey, you might feel as though the process is over and little can be done to change the inevitable sentence, penalties and fines. However, despite what many think, you may have options to fight the conviction. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to pursue an appeal of your DWI conviction under certain circumstances.
Selecting An Experienced Attorney To Help You Appeal
An experienced New Jersey DWI appeals attorney can guide you through the complicated legal process of appealing a drunk driving conviction. While many attorneys may be experienced with DWI trials, it is important to select an attorney who has actually taken a DWI conviction through the appellate process.
Time Limits Imposed by the Court
You must file a Notice of Appeal with the court clerk within 20 days of your conviction judgment being entered. Next, within 5 days of filing your Notice of Appeal, you or your attorney will need to file a copy of the notice with the county clerk and also serve a copy to the prosecuting attorney. For this reason, it is important that you consult with an experienced DWI appeals attorney as soon as possible.
The DWI Appellate Process
Your DWI appeals attorney should order transcripts of the first trial at which you were convicted. He will then need to file a brief with the higher court, called the superior court in New Jersey. A brief is a document outlining all the legal arguments the attorney wants the judge to consider.
When your appeals court date arrives, the superior court judge will review the transcripts of your trial, the evidence presented, and each party’s briefs. The judge may give some deference to the lower court’s findings, but is not required to do so.
Typically, defendants are not allowed to put forth new evidence in a DWI appeals proceeding, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Your DWI appeals attorney can explain these exceptions to you and advise you on how to proceed, given your particular circumstances.
The Penalties of Losing a DWI Appeal
If you lose your DWI appeal, the judge has the authority to impose harsher penalties than those imposed at your first trial. New Jersey DWI penalties are defined within a clear range, and because DWI convictions are not criminal in New Jersey, the penalties do not vary greatly between lower and higher courts.
Of course, if you win your appeal, any penalties previously assigned will be dismissed.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a DWI Appeals attorney in New Jersey, please call the Law Offices of Dan T. Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404.