Travis J. Tormey recently defended a client against charges of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in the Parsippany Municipal Court in Parsippany, NJ. Since the client had a prior conviction for a drunk driving violation, she now faced second offense DWI charges, which carry a potential license suspension period of two years, as well as a sentence of up to 90 days in the Morris County Jail.
Mr. Tormey has handled countless DWI cases throughout New Jersey, so he was able to raise several issues in defense of the client. First, this was a New Jersey State Police case, which meant that the State Police needed to provide timely discovery to the prosecutor so that the prosecutor could then provide discovery evidence to the defense. However, the prosecutor did not receive discovery for about five months after the DWI charges were filed. Mr. Tormey made numerous appearances in court and requested the discovery while asserting his client’s constitutional right to a speedy trial. Eventually, the Parsippany Municipal Court judge agreed and signed an order stipulated that discovery would have to be provided within 30 days or the case could be dismissed. Although the discovery was not provided within that period, the judge still failed to dismiss the case and gave the State one more chance. At the next court date, the prosecutor conveniently handed Mr. Tormey the discovery evidence in court. This evidence was extremely late, but once against the Parsippany judge failed to dismiss the case. Had the case not eventually been dismissed, Mr. Tormey would have been able to raise these issues on appeal.
With discovery finally having been provided, the next major issue in the case was the prosecution’s burden to prove that the client had, in fact, “operated” the motor vehicle. On the night of his DWI arrest, our client was found in the backseat of a car parked on the side of Route 80 in Parsippany, NJ. Law enforcement never saw our client actually driving the car. Moreover, since she was found in the backseat, the circumstances did not indicate that she had been the driver of the motor vehicle. When questioned, our client told the police officers that her husband had been driving and that they had been in the middle of an argument when the car ran out of gas, prompting him to exit the vehicle and walk away from the area. Police officers did not believe her story, so they placed her under arrest and charged her with a DWI. Mr. Tormey was able to obtain the client’s phone records, which showed that she had called multiple people for a ride after the car broke down. Moreover, Mr. Tormey subpoenaed the client’s husband so that he could provide his version of events. When the client’s husband appeared in court, he did acknowledge that he had been driving and confirmed our client’s version of events.
Based on all of this evidence and the lack of “operation” of the motor vehicle, the Parsippany prosecutor and the judge had no choice but to dismiss the DWI case, meaning that our client avoided the loss of her license and kept her record clear of a second DWI conviction.
This was a tremendous outcome for our client and a major victory for the Tormey Law Firm.