REFUSAL CONVICTION DOESN’T COUNT AS PRIOR DWI, COURT SAYS

N.J. Law Journal Reports today:

In a big win for defense lawyers in drunken driving cases, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a past conviction for refusal to submit to a breath test does not count as a prior offense for DWI sentencing purposes. The ruling, in State v. Ciancaglini, A-92/93-09, means Eileen Ciancaglini should have been sentenced as a first offender for a 2008 DWI conviction, despite a refusal conviction in 2006. The unanimous Court, noting the drunken-driving and refusal statutes are separate and free-standing, said the Legislature “never endeavored to provide … that a prior refusal conviction could be treated as a prior DWI.” Judge Edwin Stern, writing for the Court, said, “Such a reading is consistent with the well-established principle that penal statutes must be strictly construed.”

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About Lawrence "Larry" Berezin

I retired from the private practice of law after a 35-year legal career and fight parking tickets for people like you and me. I love sharing valuable information and beating NYC parking tickets for the driving community

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