The famous American writer and advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Napolean Hill, wrote, “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” This same philosophy can and should be applied to the representation of clients in DWI cases. Otherwise, a client cannot be guaranteed that his or her lawyer was committed to achieving the best possible outcome for the case.
Recently, I once again experienced the effects of persistence, patience and hard work when representing a DWI client a New Jersey municipal court. This client came to me with a charge of DWI as a second offense. The police alleged that he had difficulty walking, standing and talking. Moreover, he supposedly performed the field sobriety tests poorly. The breath test result was .17%. From the beginning, I knew the battle to win this case would be a long and difficult one. However from past experience, I learned that no case is absolutely impossible to win.
I believed that the key to winning this case was to obtain as much information about the investigation as possible. The routine discovery packet that was initially provided did not contain all of the police reports that are typically written for a DWI case.
To obtain this information, I had to make five court appearances. These appearances included having discussions with the prosecutor and arguing before the judge a legal motion to compel the State to provide discovery. Then, I had to make additional motions to dismiss the charges when the prosecutor failed to produce the discovery that judge ordered the State to provide.
Eventually, all of the discovery was produced. However, certain information concerning the breath test device revealed that it may not have been working properly when my client’s breath samples were tested. Another legal motion was filed and argued. The judge denied this legal motion.
After eleven court appearances, the case was ready to proceed to trial. The prosecutor was not willing to drop the DWI charge and the client, understandably, did not want to plead guilty to the charge.
So, I further prepared for trial and came to court with my client and his witness for battle. As circumstances would have it, the investigating police officer did not appear, even though he had a subpoena to be present. In that situation, the State was unprepared to move forward with its case and all charges were dismissed after I made a motion for that result.
In the end, the persistence of making twelve court appearances and unwillingness to yield placed my client in the position to win. If he had pled guilty at his first court appearance, then he would have never achieved the dismissal.