Being convicted of Driving Under the Influence in New Jersey can be a devastating experience. Your reputation, career, and livelihood are all at stake. Once formally convicted of a DUI, you may think you have no recourse, but that is not always the case. In some instances, you may be able to appeal your DUI conviction.
Can I Appeal My DUI Conviction?
While every case is factually unique, there are some common legal bases for DUI appeals. Typically, appeals in these matters are based on either procedural or substantive grounds.
An appeal based on procedural grounds brings to light a procedural defect in the case that improperly resulted in the conviction. For example, a defendant may have grounds for an appeal of their DUI conviction on procedural grounds if they did not knowingly enter a guilty plea. In this regard, defendants entering guilty pleas must enter the plea in an intelligent manner with full knowledge of the consequences. Anything that hinders the ability to enter a purposeful and fully aware guilty plea can be raised on a procedural appeal.
An appeal based on substantive grounds, on the other hand, is based on applicable law. For example, a court’s failure to grant a motion to suppress evidence which leads to a DUI conviction could provide the basis for an appeal on substantive grounds. Perhaps the trial court improperly denied a motion to suppress the results of the breathalyzer test or to preclude a purported “confession” made by a defendant. If convicted, you may be able to appeal on substantive grounds based on the court’s denial of the motion to suppress.
Either way, it is advisable to consult with an experienced DUI lawyer to help you determine the optimal strategy for your DUI appeal.
When Should I File My DUI Appeal?
Typically you must file your appeal within 20 days of the conviction or guilty plea to DUI. If you are considering appealing, don’t wait. Contact a lawyer immediately to discuss your options, otherwise you might lose the opportunity to do so.
How Do I File A DUI Appeal?
The typical appeals process can take anywhere from 90 to 180 days from start to finish. The first step is to contact a New Jersey DUI lawyer to help you determine the best grounds for your appeal.
Once a strategy is in place, your lawyer will file your appeal with the Superior Court in the New Jersey county where you were convicted. The Superior Court judge will review all pertinent trial transcripts, paperwork and other written evidence relevant to your case. No new evidence can be introduced in connection with your appeal – only the record developed in the lower court proceeding may be considered. The Superior Court judge will decide whether the lower court’s decision was proper, whether it should be overturned and whether any other relief is appropriate.
If you have been convicted of a DUI in New Jersey, but feel you have sufficient grounds to appeal the trial court’s decision, contact an experienced DUI attorney without delay.
The Reinartz Law Firm has successfully handled many New Jersey DUI matters and can assist with yours. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.