DWI – Double Jeopardy – State v. Kashi

This morning, the New Jersey Supreme Court published its holding in State v. Kashi. Kashi involved a defendant who was convicted in municipal court of the DWI per se violation but found not guilty of the under the influence part of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a). On appeal, the Law Division found him guilty of both a per se violation and being under the influence. The defendant maintained on appeal to the Appellate Division and the Supreme Court that the not guilty finding in municipal court on the under the influence case constituted an acquittal. The Supreme Court ruled as follows:

1. The Justices expressly reversed their previous view of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a) and held that this statute creates only one offense that may be proved by alternative methods. (The Court had previously ruled that 39:4-50(a) contains 4 distinct and separate offenses)

2. On appeal, a Law Division judge may find a defendant guilty of driving while under the influence of alcohol even though a municipal court judge did not find sufficient evidence to support that charge.

3. A defendant who has been convicted in municipal court may not be subject to an increased sentence on appeal to the Superior Court.

4. In its per curiam opinion, the Justices affirmed the prior holding of the Appellate Division in State v. Kashi, 360 N.J. Super. 538 (App. Div. 2003).

Download a copy of State v. Kashi

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