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20K DWI Cases Could Be Tossed In NJ After Supreme Court Ruling

Over 20,000 people who were accused of DWI in New Jersey could have their cases dismissed based on a Tuesday ruling of the state’s Supreme Court. The high court, in a unanimous ruling found criminal charges against a State Police sergeant in charge of calibrating breath-testing devices and rendered the breath test results from five counties inadmissible as evidence. The court then vacated the conviction of a woman who had pled guilty to a DWI based on a result from one of those machines and had later died while waiting for her legal struggle to conclude.

The court further ordered state authorities to notify anyone whose case involved results from machines that Sgt. Marc Dennis may have handled that their results were not scientifically sound. This decision has opened the floodgates for thousands of people to challenge DWI convictions that have occurred over the past decade.

20K DWI Cases Now In Jeopardy Of Being Tossed

In 2016, Sgt. Marc Dennis was accused of lying on official documents about performing a legally required temperature check while calibrating just three machines, known as Alcotest devices, which gauge the blood-alcohol level of accused drunken drivers. The criminal case against Sgt. Dennis is still pending. This past Tuesday, his attorney stated that the sergeant still maintains his innocence. The accusations called into question any and all test results involving a machine that the Sergeant handled, including devices used by local police in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union counties between 2008 and 2016.

This disclosure prompted a native of New Jersey by the name of Eileen Cassidy to seek to withdraw a guilty plea that she had entered in Spring Lake Municipal Court based on the results of a breath test. Cassidy, however, died of a terminal illness in March but the judges still ruled on the case because of the “significant public importance” of the issue. State authorities maintained that the temperature check that Sgt. Dennis was accused of skipping was one of several redundancies and fail-safes to ensure that the readings are as accurate as possible and omitting that one step did not invalidate the results. They further argued that New Jersey is the only state that requires the step.

The Supreme Court, however decided to side with Judge Joseph Lisa, who was appointed as a special master to handle the issue and found the omission of the step raised substantial doubts about the reliability of the machines. County prosecutors began notifying defendants in 2016 that their cases could potentially be thrown out. However, those cases have been on hold pending the Supreme Court’s ruling. The court ordered state authorities to notify all DWI defendants in the pool of those affected of the decision so that they may take any appropriate action they need.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said at an unrelated event Tuesday that his office was reviewing the decision and are still coming up with guidance for county prosecutors and municipal prosecutors who handle many of these cases. It’s unclear how many cases will ultimately be tossed or dismissed as breath tests are an important part of DWI cases. It is best to remember that a person can still be convicted of a DWI without one.

Michael Hobbie who is the Eatontown attorney who represented Cassidy, said the pool of 20,667 DWI cases includes an unknown number of people who may have been acquitted at trial or were convicted on evidence other than a Breathalyzer result such as the observation of officers etc. Additionally, defendants have to come forward to challenge their conviction and because the pool of cases goes back years, the majority of them may have already served their driver’s license suspensions and other penalties in the time that has passed.

Read On To Find Out About 20K DWI Cases That May Be Tossed After NJ Supreme Court Ruling or call the office of Leckerman Law for a Consultation at (856) 429-2323 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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‘Ghost Cars’ Being Used By N.J. State Troopers To Combat Drunk Driving

The New Jersey State Police is using a less easily identified police car on the New Jersey Turnpike which speeders and reckless drivers need to watch out for.

The police cars have a new paint scheme on some of their Chevrolet Caprice cruisers, which makes them sort of a hybrid of marked and undercover patrol vehicles.

The cars were unveiled Thursday, which appear to be black unmarked from a distance. However, up close, gray State Police branding is visible on the front doors, in an almost ghostly manner.

The cars have been dubbed as “#NJSPGhostCar” on social media by N.J. State Police, and will be patrolling the Turnpike.

According to Capt. Stephen Jones, a State Police spokesman, most of these “ghost cars” are completely unmarked, except for their emergency lights and sirens.

The new paint job on these unmarked cars makes them more identifiable to motorists and they know they are speaking to a legitimate officer once they are pulled over.

“You can see that it is a trooper’s car,” said Jones.

The idea behind these relatively unmarked vehicles is to help troopers get dangerous drivers off the roads.

“There are a lot of people who are going to drive like an absolute maniac until they see a marked car, then they’ll slow down and behave. This gives us an advantage in finding those people.” said Jones.

Police have also advised motorists not to pull over in any desolate area as some criminals masquerading as police in unmarked cars could get you in trouble. Drivers should only pull over in a public area or place.

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21-Year-Old Newton Man Faces DWI And Other Charges After Driving On Sidewalk

NEWTON – 21-year-old Luke Brenniser of Newton faced multiple charges after he drove his car onto a sidewalk early Friday morning.

The incident took place at around 1:50 am when three patrol officers responded to an accident report on Pine Street. An investigation revealed that Brenniser was driving his Acura TL while under the influence which veered off the road. Officers Daniel Finkle, Thomas Tosti and Mahir Kaylani responded to the scene.

Newton Police Lt. Robert Osborn reported that when his vehicle veered off the road, Brenniser drove on the sidewalk for approximately 100 feet. His vehicle sideswiped a tree, hit the street sign for Pine Street and Mason Avenue before it finally came to a rest against a nearby utility pole.

Brenniser sustained head and neck injuries and was taken to Newton Medical Center by the Newton First Aid Squad for treatment.

He was later charged with DWI, reckless driving, improper driving on a sidewalk and failure to exhibit a valid insurance card.

His vehicle was towed from the scene as it sustained significant damage.

Brenniser is scheduled to appear in Newton Municipal Court on Tuesday, 26 May.

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Politician’s Lawsuit Over Drunken-Driving Stop Tossed Aside By Judge

CAMDEN, N.J. – The lawsuit filed by Democratic Assemblyman Paul Moriarty of New Jersey against the Washington Township police department has been tossed aside by a federal judge in Camden.

The New Jersey politician was involved in a drunken-driving traffic stop in 2012. The stop led to a law requiring police to mount video cameras in their cars.

The lawsuit filed by Moriarty stated that the police department failed to train and supervise its employees adequately. He contested the drunken driving charge against him on the basis that he was the victim of a rogue police officer.

Several months after his arrest, Moriarty showed a squad car video to reporters that would vindicate him. The charges against him were dropped and the arresting officer was accused of making a bogus arrest.

According to Moriarty’s lawyer, the ruling does not preclude his client from seeking damages from the officer.

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DWI Charge Against Lambertville Mayor David Delvecchio Dismissed

MANSFIELD – A Mansfield Municipal Court dropped the drunken driving charges against Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchio on Thursday.

Lambertville’s longtime municipal attorney and prosecutor, Philip Faherty, represented DelVecchio in court who agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge. DelVecchio admitted to reckless driving and said that he swerved out of his lane before he was stopped by the police.

At the time of the stop, Mansfield Police administered field sobriety tests which DelVecchio failed.

58-year-old DelVecchio was arrested on DWI charges on 9 November on Route 130 shortly after 1 a.m. He was also charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain a lane during a traffic stop.

At the police headquarters, two breathalyzer tests were administered, but no trace of alcohol was found in the breath tests. DelVecchio told officers that he had been drinking earlier that night, but that was over the period of several hours according to Faherty.

After the hearing, DelVecchio said that he was relieved that the most important charges against him have been resolved.

According to the arrest reports, DelVecchio was cooperative throughout the investigation and he was also polite while the police investigated him. His attorney also pleaded for minimum fines as DelVecchio cooperated with the officers and throughout the arrest.

Fines of $206 and $32 were imposed by Municipal Court Judge Dennis P. McInerney in court fees, which DelVecchio paid before leaving court.

According to DelVecchio’s lawyer, DelVecchio did not argue against the reckless driving charge, but he accepted the plea deal instead.

DelVecchio passed a statement in which he said that he has taken a strong stand against drunk driving as a mayor in his own community. He also said that he would not act in a way which is contrary with that belief. “I hold the officers who handled this case in the highest regard, as they acted with the same integrity and professionalism that I ask of the Lambertville police, and I did not receive any preferential treatment,” he said in the statement.

DelVecchio has served as a president of the New Jersey League of Municipalities and president of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors. He is in his eighth term as mayor.

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Fleeing Drunk Driver Charged With DWI in Clayton After Chase

CLAYTON – 49-years-old James L. Happersett Jr. of Clayton was arrested and charged with DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and other violations on Friday.

According to the police, Happersett was driving drunk and tried to flee when an officer had to break a window of his vehicle to stop him from continuing a chase.

Apart from the DWI charge, Happersett was also charged with eluding police, , obstruction of justice and resisting arrest.

The police was informed of a possibly drunk driver in the area of Broad and High streets. Happersett’s vehicle was spotted by Clayton Ptl. Michael Foley who responded to the report.

The police officer tried to pull Happersett over but he didn’t stop. The police followed him on a low-speed, roughly two-mile pursuit after which they finally stopped him. However, Happersett refused to open his door after he was stopped.
Eventually, Foley had to break the driver’s side window so they could stop him and put an end to the pursuit. According to the released statement, the officer was injured by broken glass.

After his arrest, Happersett was taken to Kennedy University Hospital for treatment as he started to lose consciousness.

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