I was suspended for a DUI a few months ago. I realize I shouldn't have been driving, but here is what happened. I was pulled over for tint and a loud muffler after leaving my Fire Department, only blocks away. A cop I knew heard the call and pulled up on scene. They dropped all the tickets (muffler, plate cover, tint), except driving while suspended. They gave me a break. The ticket they gave me has a mandatory jail sentence of 10-90 days in the state of New Jersey. My question is, if that's the ONLY ticket they gave me, can I prove they didn't have probable cause to stop me in the first place? I have a tint waiver for the state of New Jersey and my muffler is 100% stock from the manufacture.
2 part question:
Is it worth fighting with a hired lawyer, or should I use a public defender?
Do I have any chances of getting out of the jail sentence?
2 Answers from Attorneys
You have, as you know, substantial sentencing exposure (1 to 2 year license loss and 10 to 90 days jail) if convicted. There might be a way to avoid the conviction completely (either through a defense - the cause to stop has to be further examined among other issues - or by a plea-agreement that downgrades the charge) or to avoid a jail sentence (with a jail alternative). The "chances" are dependent on a host of factors including your driving record, the DWI (was this 90-day license loss or 7-months or longer license loss DWI?) and the Court. I suggest that you consult with lawyers to discuss your case and issues on greater detail.
You should consult a lawyer. As I stated previously there may be a way avoid jail. However, Mr Marootian is absolutely correct. If there is discovery there may be a way to challenge the stop but from the way you explained the stop it sounds like the officer had probable cause.
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