DWI Cases pending before Supreme Court

Please take note that the Supreme Court has granted cert in three drunk driving cases that were decided by the Appellate Division last year. They include the following:

State v. Kashi – If a judge determines there is insufficient evidence sustain a finding of guilt on a charge of being under the influence of alcohol (as opposed to the per se violation), does that finding technically constitute a partial acquittal of the drunk driving charge? The Appellate Division said “NO!” at 360 N.J. Super. 538 (App. Div. 2003). Let’s see what the Justices say. The procedural findings in Kashi are reproduced in the table below.

State v. Kashi

Procedural Table

Court: Municipal
Finding Per Se Violation: Guilty
Finding on Under Influence: Not Guilty

Court: Law Division
Finding Per Se Violation: Guilty
Finding on Under Influence: Not Guilty

Court: Appellate Division
Finding Per Se Violation: Reversed – Not Guilty
Finding on Under Influence: Affirmed Guilty

State v. Reiner – This Appellate Division decision (reported on West Law at 2003 WL 22239202) was the first time the Court had an opportunity to construe the school zone provisions set forth under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g). Defendant was a second offender and was caught in a school zone. The Court held he was subject to second offender-level school zone penalties.

State v. Fisher – Police officer served a dwi summons and complaint on the defendant but failed to sign the drunk driving complaint within the applicable statute of limitations period. The Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of the complaint (West Law 2003 WL 22143243). This decision was consistent with previous law. (See State v. Brennan, 229 N.J. Super. 342 (App. Div. 1988)). Supreme Court will have the last word.

None of these cases has been argued yet. Please be mindful of the status of these cases if you need to cite them.

One other case to watch out for is State v. Boggio. This appeal came from an unpublished Appellate Division decision. John Menzel, Esq. and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s office argued it before the Supreme Court back on November 17th. According to the Court, the issue in the case deals with whether convictions for driving while intoxicated under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 serve as prior offenses in determining the penalty to be imposed under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a for the offense of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test. This case will be decided before the other three.

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