DWI and Refusal May Never Merge – State v. Eckert

[11/16/09 11:48 am] This morning, the Appellate Division ruled in a case captioned State v. Eckert that drunk driving and refusal offenses never merge and require the imposition separate sentences. In Eckert, the defendant’s attorney negotiated a disposition calling for a merger of the DWI and refusal convictions which was granted. He then sought the imposition of a three-month suspension of driving privileges on the DWI charge based upon a mandatory sentencing step-down to first offender status to which the defendant was entitled. Both the municipal court and Law Division rejected this approach and imposed a seven-month suspension on the DWI. In rejecting this approach, the Appellate Division held that the attempt to merge the refusal into the DWI charge by the defendant constituted a subterfuge to bypass the plea bargaining restrictions on DWI and refusal cases.

Download a copy of State v. Eckert.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive