NJ Supreme Court Decides State v. Robertson

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On March 8, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided the case of State v. Robertson (A-58-14). In this case, the Court determined the legal principles that should apply when a defendant convicted of DWI seeks a stay of his or her license suspension pending appeal.

If a defendant loses his her or DWI trial, the defendant can ask the trial judge to stay the license suspension penalty while the defendant files an appeal. However, prior to State v. Robertson, it was not clear when the stay should be granted by the trial court.

In Robertson, the New Jersey Supreme Court reasoned that defendants who appeal their DWI conviction from municipal court to the Superior Court “should be presumptively eligible for a stay of a driver’s license suspension.” Id. at 12. The burden would be on the prosecutor to overcome that presumption by “showing that a stay of defendant’s license suspension would present a serious threat to the safety of any person or the community.” Id.

The Court further reasoned that in the event that the defendant loses his or her appeal in the Superior Court, “the defendant has the burden to justify a stay of a driver’s license suspension pending appeal to the Appellate Division.” Id. at 14

In other words, the burden would be on the prosecutor to show why the defendant should not get a stay after a trial in municipal court. However, the burden would be on the defendant to show why he or she should be granted a stay when appealing from the Superior Court to the Appellate Division.

If you have been charged with a DWI or DUI, or are seeking to appeal your DWI or DUI conviction, attorney Jason T. Komninos provides free consultations and can be reached at (201) 343-4622.