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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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New Jersey bill looks to increase penalties for drunk drivers

Regardless of whether it is a person’s first drunk driving charge, or their third, all driving while intoxicated convictions in New Jersey can come with some rather stiff penalties. However, one bill would increase those penalties for those who are arrested for DWI more than once in a relatively short period of time.

The bill was recently approved by the State Assembly. It was written after a Vineland, New Jersey man was arrested five times for DWI in a one month span from April to May 2012. After the one month span, he was also arrested a sixth time.

When looking at what happened, the man was first arrested on April 9 after getting into a crash with a police vehicle. Between that arrest and May 12 he was arrested four more times for DWI.

With each of the arrests, he was released on a summons while awaiting a municipal court hearing. His fifth DWI arrest came just four days after being released. After this arrest he spent a month in county jail before posting bail. Again, after being released, he was arrested for a sixth DWI.

Due to this man’s arrest record, the Assembly bill was proposed. This bill would create stricter consequences for a person who is arrested for a second DWI within the 60 days after their first DWI arrest. Under this bill, the driver would end up facing a fourth-degree criminal charge on top of the already existing DWI penalties.

A fourth-degree criminal charge could mean up to a $10,000 fine and a year and a half in prison. In these types of DWI cases, the courts would also be required to suspend a driver’s license.

However, regardless of this bill, which would result in even stricter penalties, any time a person is arrested for drunk driving it is important to talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to learn what options may be available.

Source: South Jersey Times, “After South Jersey man gets 5 DWIs, bill advances to stiffen penalties for repeat offenders,” Alex Young, Feb. 7, 2013

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