Unconditional DWI Plea waives Rights – State v. Ackerman (UNP)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION RELATES TO AN OPINION THAT HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION.

This morning’s unpublished Appellate Division decision in State v. Ackerman provides an excellent example of what can happen when a defendant fails to preserve the right to appeal an adverse pre-trial ruling by entering a conditional plea (See Rule 7:6-2(c)) and neglects to raise (and therefore preserve) all possible technical challenges to a prosecution at the trial level.

In Ackerman, defendant was charged with DWI, Refusal and a variety of related moving violations as part of an eluding incident. She was admitted into PTI on the indictable matter and later pled guilty unconditionally to DWI in municipal court. The other tickets, including a refusal, were dismissed.

Three important points are discussed in this case:

1. The unconditional plea in municipal court bars the defendant from raising challenges to the ensuing conviction based upon double jeopardy and speedy trial;

2. The Court would not consider a challenge to the conviction based upon mandatory joinder considerations (which may have been her strongest argument) since the issue was not raised below; and

3. It was improper for the Law Division to credit a one year period of license loss the defendant served as a condition of PTI on the eluding charge against her 10-year d/l loss on the DWI. The sentence was corrected today by the Appellate Division on its own motion.

Download a copy of State v. Ackerman

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