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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 man’s prior DWI convictions unclear

As Cape May readers may know, while the holiday seasons bring cheer for some, they bring bad choices for others. For at least one New Jersey man, instead of ending with pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving Day ended with a DWI arrest.

According to a criminal complaint, the 52-year-old man got pulled over by a police officer responding to a report of a hit-and-run accident. The driver allegedly damaged another vehicle while driving the wrong way down a one way street. According to reports, the arresting officer administered three field sobriety tests after he observed slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and a strong smell of alcohol. The driver allegedly failed the field tests and registered .19 percent on a preliminary blood alcohol test.

While the alleged facts might appear to make this an open-and-shut against the accused driver, he will need to rely on experienced legal counsel for reasons beyond defending against the charge of driving while intoxicated. The man should also be concerned about apparent confusion over the number of previous DWI convictions on his record.

Court documents seem to indicate that one police officer believed the man had eight prior drunk driving convictions. Another note in the record seems to indicate that he had only two prior convictions. Meanwhile, the criminal complaint alleges that he had three or more prior convictions.

The consequences of a DWI conviction increase substantially with each conviction after the first. Most defendants may not realize that the burden falls to the prosecution to prove the number of prior offenses alleged in the charging documents. An experienced DWI attorney would help make certain that man is not punished for prior offenses he did not commit.

Source: Easton Patch, “Man Faces Thanksgiving DUI Charge,” Jack Tobias, Nov. 24, 2012

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