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How to Choose an Attorney to Handle Your DWI Case in New Jersey


Why do I need to hire an attorney experienced in handling DWI cases and not just a general attorney or a public defender? What are some of the complicated situations that can arise in these DWI cases?

If you are charged with DWI, you should hire an attorney who is experienced in DWI defense. The reason for that is that the attorney can go through all the evidence to make sure that:

  1. Your constitutional rights are protected.
  2. The prosecutor has provided all the evidence that he or she is required to provide.
  3. To make sure that the proper procedures are followed in your case so that you get the best defense possible.

Picking an experienced DWI attorney will also help quell your fears about the criminal justice system. That attorney will let you know as the case progresses what is happening so that you’re kept in the loop and it keeps your stress down.

The bottom line is: if you want to beat a case, the best thing to do is hire an experienced attorney.

What warning signs should someone be aware of when looking for a DWI attorney (because there are a lot out there)?

That’s a tough one. I would say that the smartest thing you can do is ask your attorney what his experience is defending people on DWIs, how many years he has been practicing this type of law, what types of DWI cases he has handled, and what kind of cases he has experienced where he was able to get a favorable result for a client. Those conversations will help you as a client determine whether or not that attorney is right for you and whether or not that attorney knows what he is talking about. The best preparation is to have questions written down or at least prepared before you go in to meet with the attorney about that attorney’s experience.

What sets your firm apart in handling DWI cases in New Jersey?

We are meticulous about our work.  We are a client-based firm and we make sure our clients are aware of what is happening in their case from beginning to end so that they are kept in the loop. We are results-driven and make sure our clients are satisfied. At the end of the case, we want to make sure that our clients walk away from the case happy, knowing that they got the best defense and the best representation possible.

Another thing is that we are very approachable and accessible. We’ll never leave you in the dark. One of the things I don’t like about some attorneys I hear about from clients is that they don’t call them back or don’t respond to their emails or texts. Here, we make sure that you’re always kept in the loop.

Along those lines, I’ve had cases where courts have forgotten to list a case and my client has called me and said, “I haven’t gotten the court notice.” In one such case, I told my client, “Let’s make an agreement. Let’s talk every month, and every month it goes by that the case isn’t listed, it’s another month that your constitutional right to have a speedy trial has been violated.” The case went on and on for about 19 months and the court finally listed the case. When we went in, I asked the judge to dismiss it for a violation of the constitutional right to a speedy trial, and the case was dismissed.

New Jersey tries to move cases along fast. There is a guideline that the courts want to resolve the case within 60 days from the date of the stop. Quite honestly, though, that doesn’t always happen, especially when prosecutors don’t give up all the evidence.

Is there anything else people should keep in mind regarding DWIs in New Jersey?

If you’re caught driving while intoxicated in a school zone, the fines or penalties are generally doubled.

Does it matter if it’s during school hours or not?

It doesn’t matter. The statute doesn’t call for that.

For more information on Attorney Matthew Portella and DWI in New Jersey, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (856) 861-6355 today.

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