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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Why Should I Fight a DUI or DWI Charge?

blurry police car pulled over drunk driver

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or “drunk driving” in New Jersey, you may be tempted to plead guilty. You may believe that the police have an “open and shut” case against you, especially if you took a breath test that resulted in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) numbers clearly above the legal limit. The costs of a trial may seem daunting, making it even more tempting simply to admit to the crime.

In fact, many people plead guilty to Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) when a trial might have resulted in a more favorable outcome. Here’s what to consider when you’re trying to decide whether to fight a charge in NJ:

When In Doubt, Plead “Not Guilty.”

Until you are certain that a plea is the right choice, you’ve seen the terms of the plea, and your lawyer has given you his or her opinion, it’s best to plead not guilty. “Not guilty” keeps the door open for you to go to trial, and there’s no penalty for pleading not guilty at first and then accepting a plea deal at any time up until trial.

How Accurate Are Breathalyzer Tests?

Not all DWI cases “open and shut” as they might appear. Breath testing tools look impressive, but they can be tricky to calibrate and even more difficult to use correctly. Police officers often administer chemical tests to measure the BAC in your breath, blood, urine, or saliva. The results of these tests are usually a big part of the prosecution’s DUI case against you. Most field sobriety tests are difficult to pass even if one is sober, making it important to question their value for determining if someone is intoxicated. Talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after a DWI arrest to discuss the facts of your particular situation.

Testing During Absorption Phase

It takes time for alcohol to absorb into your system. Studies say anywhere for 45 minutes to 3 hours, obviously it depends on the person, but when blood alcohol testing reveals a high BAC, it doesn’t necessarily mean the driver was over the limit while driving since the blood alcohol concentration is constantly changing. At any given time, BAC is either rising or falling. And there’s always at least some delay between when the person is actually driving and when the BAC testing happens. This means you could use the rising-blood-alcohol defense to beat a DUI charge with the help of an expert.

Consumption of Other Foods and Medications

The most common method is a breathalyzer. Most breath testing machines will register a diverse number of chemical compounds found in human breath such as alcohol, which includes some types of food and non-impairing drugs or medications. Eating food or taking drugs within certain periods prior to the test may result in a false reading.

 

Talk To An Expert

Many of these DUI and DWI defenses may require the expertise of a lawyer. Attorney John W. Tumelty is a New Jersey Supreme Court certified criminal trial attorney with experience in DUI and DWI cases. If you’ve been charged with a crime or a drunk driving offense, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty today.

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The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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