Do you have a prior DWI. Have you been convicted of driving under the influence previously. Have you been involved in an accident involving injury or death to a person while you were under the influence of alcohol. These are very substantial questions concerning your prior history and any new criminal charges involving alcohol.
Submitted by New Jersey DWI Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
This case is important for several reasons. In this case the defendant was charged with vehicular homicide. The defendant drove through an intersection and struck another person who was killed. Defendant was under the influence of alcohol at the time and was also charged with DWI. After the defendant was indicted the prosecutor wanted to be able to introduce the defendant’s prior DWI convictions in order to support the argument that the defendant was reckless in his conduct. Another words, the defendants prior alcohol driving under influence convictions were evidence that the state could use to show prior knowledge and reckless conduct in order to support the alcohol homicide conviction. The trial court suppressed the evidence and did not allow the prosecutor to introduce same to the jury. The state appealed and this Appellate Division decision supported the trial judges decision.
The Appellate Division ruled that the judge properly precluded evidence of the prior DWI convictions. The Appellate Division agreed that the “prior bad acts” of this defendant have to be weighed against their probative or relevant value in the case. Most significantly the trial court correctly analyzed the prejudicial affect of the two prior DWI conviction in this case. The prosecutor did not need the two prior DWIs to prove the recklessness of the defendant, and the two prior DWI convictions would have such an over weighted prejudicial effect against this defendant they had to be precluded.
The important issue in this case is the possibility of having your prior DWI conviction introduced in future cases. As a result, you must fight every DWI charge as hard as possible when it arises. Do you have an attorney who will hire the proper experts and fight as hard as possible to save you from that “first” conviction. Based on this case you can’t afford not to because at some point in time those prior DWI convictions could probably will come up to haunt you in the future.
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.