Supremes: Still no jury trial in muni court for 3rd offense drunk drivers (but we’re close..)
“[W]e believe that the Legislature has increased the severity of penalties associated with repeat DWI offenses to the point where any additional direct penalties, whether involving incarceration, fees, or driving limitations, will render third or subsequent DWI offenses ‘serious’ offenses for the purpose of triggering the right to a jury trial.”
All of this leaves NJ as the only state in the U.S. that does not provide for a jury trial for drunk driving cases. We are clearly toeing the line of the constitutional threshold for right to a jury trial that is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Further penalties implemented by the Legislature would “pack” the offense of DWI to the point of becoming a “serious” offense for sixth-amendment purposes, and DWI jury trial will finally come to NJ at that point.