Any DWI charge is traumatic, but for many, the hardest part – by far – is the threat of license suspension. In New Jersey, that suspension can last anywhere from seven months to ten years. Driving is paramount to most people’s livelihoods and as such, license suspension is often the most fraught element of a DWI case. Know your rights.
State v. Robertson
Defendants of DWI charges often choose – due to the hardship of harsh license suspensions – to appeal their DWI convictions and sentences via a trial de novo (appeal), and, pending that trial, they’re allowed to request the sentencing court to stay their sentences, including their license suspensions. In a recent New Jersey Supreme Court case, State v. Robertson, the Court clarified the standards for allowing a stay of sentencing while appeal is pending.
The Nitty Gritty
New Jersey’s highest court finds that, under most circumstances, a DWI defendant who applies for trial de novo should be eligible for a stay of license suspension. However, the State can also negate this presumption of eligibility if it can show that providing such a stay will present a serious safety threat. If so determined, the State will not grant the stay of license suspension unless the defendant’s driving can be regulated in such a way that the perceived risk is appropriately mitigated.
What It Means for You
If you are subsequently convicted in a trial de novo, the burden is on you to justify any stay of your license suspension pending further appeal. To do so, you must be able to show several elements:
- Your case includes a substantial question that needs the attention of an appellate court;
- Granting you a stay of license suspension will not seriously threaten anyone; and
- You don’t present a serious flight risk.
If you are awarded such a stay at this juncture, the court can impose those conditions that it finds appropriate under the circumstances of your case. Unless the State can show that a stay of your license suspension presents a real safety concern, however, you should be able to obtain that stay as you await your final appeal.
If You’re Looking at a License Suspension, Call 732-238-8686 Today for More Information
If you’re facing a license suspension, David C. Barry, Attorney at Law, can help. Because David knows that your livelihood depends upon your ability to drive, he strongly recommends that you retain an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer who will fight for you and your rights. If you need legal guidance and would like to discuss your case, call David today at 732-238-8686.