Driving With A Suspended License Following NJ DWI Conviction

Joe Giudice, husband of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice was sentenced to 10 days in the Morris County jail for driving with a suspended license. Mr. Giudice’s license was under suspension following a dwi conviction in Montville New Jersey.

According to New Jersey Law N.J.S. 39:3-40(f)(2), a defendant who is convicted of driving while under suspension for a dwi conviction “shall … have his license … suspended for an additional period of not less than one year or more than two years, and shall be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than 10 days or more than 90 days.”

I have handled many cases where clients are charged with driving under suspension for dwi, and have successfully argued around the 10 to 90 day jail term. The statute (N.J.S. 39:3-40) does not prohibit a jail alternative such as a county labor assistance program, making such an alternative to jail a viable sentence. I have also been able to get the charge reduced to a lesser charge because plea-bargaining of the charge is permitted (unlike the nj dwi statute where plea bargaining is prohibited). A jail term can also be avoided where the plea was made without counsel. In that case a petition can be made in the court where the dwi conviction occurred to get a protective order consistent with State v. Laurick, 120 N.J. 1, (1990), certiorari denied 111 S.Ct. 429, 498 U.S. 967, 112 L.Ed.2d 413 (1990). The jail term can also be avoided where the dwi plea was taken in contradiction of New Jersey Court Rules and the Defendant’s constitutional rights. In that case, a petition can be made in the the court where the dwi conviction occurred to vacate the plea altogether. Lastly, sometimes, the underlying case is faulty – for example, where the stop was made without an adequate constitutional basis. A successful challenge to the charge of driving while suspended (for a dwi conviction) is possible. I am not sure whether a successful defense could have been mounted for Mr. Giudice’s charge. I am going to try to get the records from the Lincoln Park New Jersey Police and Court for curiosity sake.

New Jersey School Teacher Pleads Guilty to DWI

A Randolph Middle School science teacher recently pleaded guilty to DWI. She was accepted into a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program for a separate charge related to the incident of eluding police.

Patricia R. Blakeley, 58, from Byram pleaded guilty of DWI in Randolph New Jersey on May 18 – with a blood alcohol concentration of .20 percent. Ms. Blakeley spent more than two months at an in-patient facility in Florida after her arrest.

As a New Jersey DWI Defense lawyer, I witness most clients who are charged with DWI in a state of shock and shame. I had one client tell me that being charged with DWI was like being hit square in the face from God with a two-by-four. For many clients, a DWI charge opens up a period of introspection about alcohol abuse, and the life challenges that caused the charge.

I have learned a lot from representing clients charged with DWI in New Jersey. One thing in is certain – nobody on this earth is perfect. In addition, many imperfect people are good people who can find themselves ensnared by a DWI charge. Another life certainty is that people love to judge others and expose their flaws while failing to look at their own imperfections. This is probably why we like seeing and hearing about celebrity gossip. I was a first-time visitor to a new Church, and the Pastor said during his sermon that he, like all of us, was not perfect. I respected that and immediately, he had credibility with me.

Ms. Blakeley attended in-patient counseling follow her arrest. I am sure the ordeal was stressful and embarrassing for her. She, like all of us, is not perfect. Unfortunately, for her, her error was exposed publicly which I would imagine was not an easy thing to deal with. I wish her well.