More Than 20,000 People Charged with DWI Could Get Some Sort of “Relief” Because of a Falsifying-Records Scandal
Excerpt from Patch.com Article By Tom Davis (Patch Staff)
More than 20,000 people charged with driving-while-intoxicated could get some sort of “relief” — and their cases could be dismissed — because of a falsifying-records scandal involving the State Police, according to authorities.
Those drunken driving cases will likely be reviewed again after Sgt. Marc Dennis, a coordinator in the State Police Alcohol Drug Testing Unit, was accused of falsifying records. The matter was first reported by NJ Advance Media and confirmed by Patch.
County prosecutors sent letters to people charged with DWI between 2008 and 2016, saying they could be entitled to relief, Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, confirmed to Patch. The letters were sent to defendants in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union counties.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys told NJ Advance Media the number of cases that could be thrown out as a result of the criminal inquiry is likely low. But Della Fave said that every single case is still in jeopardy because of the falsifying-record scandal.
“Whenever that can be challenged, there could be a problem,” he said. “No prosecutor is going to move forward with a case and waste taxpayers’ money with a case that they have no chance of winning.”
“Although it appears that this State Police Breath Test Coordinator performed calibrations of Alcotest instruments only in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union counties, the effects of his indictment for falsifying records could be far-reaching. Because a DWI can be proven either on a Per Se basis by use of a breath test reading or based on the observations of the officer, the State will likely argue that it can still prove these cases based upon the observations of the officer. However, it is much more difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person is under the influence based on those observations alone, without a reading.”
– NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Tim Farrow
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office also told Patch that it has sent out 4,500 letters advising the defendants that their cases could be impacted.
A letter published by NJ Advance Media, written by Thomas J. Chirichella, first assistant prosecutor in Somerset County, shows how county authorities informed each defendant that the review will determine whether they “are entitled to future relief.” You can find the letter by clicking here.
Read the full article from Patch.com at https://patch.com/new-jersey/collingswood/s/g9dop/as-many-as-20k-new-jersey-dwi-cases-could-get-thrown-out-authorities-say
Tim Farrow, of Dash Farrow, LLP, is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor who handles DWI and criminal defense matters of any kind.
If you have been convicted of a DWI in the past 8 years and want to know how this news could affect you please reach out for experienced, focused, and responsive legal help today: Call Dash Farrow, LLP at 856-235-8300 or Contact Us Here.
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