Prior DWI Convictions Excluded from Evidence in Death By Auto Case

On October 20, 2017, the Appellate Division of New Jersey ruled that a defendant’s prior DWI convictions cannot be used to prove recklessness in a death by auto case. In State v. Carlos Green, Docket No. A-1809-16T1 (October 20, 2017), the defendant was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide while intoxicated within 1000 feet of a school under N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5(b)(3)(a).

The State sought to introduce the defendant’s two prior DWI convictions into evidence to show that the defendant acted recklessly. However, the trial court refused to allow the prior convictions into evidence.

The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s decision. While prior bad acts may be introduced in certain circumstances during a trial, the Appellate Division recognized that the suggestion that the defendant’s behavior in the vehicular homicide case was in conformance with his prior acts could unduly prejudice the defendant.

Have you been charged with a DWI or DUI or a related offense?

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