What Is the 60-Days Requirement for a New Jersey DWI Case?
There is something referred to as a 60-days requirement for New Jersey DWI cases. There’s an administrative order established decades ago by the New Jersey administrative office of the courts. This order requires the municipal courts to conclude DWI cases within 60 days from the date the ticket was filed in the court. In DWI cases, that is a very unrealistic time period to fully go through the discovery process and build your defenses.
When an attorney does a thorough job of attacking a DWI case, it’s typically going to take at minimum 60 days just to get all of the discovery. After the discovery process is complete, you still need to go back to court to discuss the case with the prosecutor to see if you can resolve it without a trial. And then there’s always an issue of scheduling experts for a trial, which will cause delays.
Are 60 Days an Adequate Period of Time to Prepare a Defense to a DWI Charge?
There’s a New Jersey Supreme Court case that came out recently called State v. Cahill. This case addresses the 60-days rule. The Court discussed the unrealistic time limitation that 60 days rule sets for DWI cases. The court also acknowledged that when DWI cases are appropriately handled, there are many technical defenses that sometimes require the case to take 90 or more days to resolve.
Interviewer: So the 60 days rule limits the amount of continuances you can request and you may have to rush in order to prepare your defense?
Attorney Leckerman Will Not Take a Case to Trial Unless He Has Completed the Discovery Process and Has Appealed the Issue on the Grounds of Due Process
Kevin: Yes, that can be true. There are some courts that strictly adhere to the 60 days requirement. Fortunately for me, I’m able to handle my cases outside the 60 days period by explaining to judges in various municipal courts why I need a little bit more time on these cases. I very rarely am forced to go to trial without being properly prepared or without fully completing the discovery process.
On the occasions where I have been forced to go to trial without full preparation, then I appealed that issue on a due process basis for my client and have been successful.