Ten Year Step-Down

Jackson NJ DWI Attorney

The lawyers at our firm receive many calls from potential clients regarding expunging a DWI or removing it so that it cannot be used against them in the future. Erasing a conviction from a motor vehicle record is not possible but use of a prior DUI conviction in Jackson or another town is significantly limited by the Ten (10) Step Down Rule. If you have been charged with a second offense, third offense or are otherwise interested in seeking relief because a prior conviction was more than 10 years ago, you should contact our Toms River NJ Office to speak to an attorney. Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is a powerhouse firm of eight highly skilled DWI attorneys, including former prosecutors like Matthew Dorry who have served in Toms River, Little Egg Harbor, Jackson, Stafford Township, Berkeley, Manchester, Beach Haven, Beachwood, Point Pleasant Beach, Eagleswood, Long Beach, Ocean Gate, Ocean Township, Pine Beach, Surf City, Tuckerton and South Toms River. For a consultation anytime 24/7 with a lawyer, call (732) 286-6500.

The 10 year drop off is created under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a)(3).  This section of the NJ DWI Law provides that:

A person who has been convicted of a previous violation of this section need not be charged as a second or subsequent offender in the complaint made against him in order to render him liable to the punishment imposed by this section on a second or subsequent offender, but if the second offense occurs more than 10 years after the first offense, the court shall treat the second conviction as a first offense for sentencing purposes and if a third offense occurs more than 10 years after the second offense, the court shall treat the third conviction as a second offense for sentencing purposes.

The essence of this language is that a DWI that occurred immediately prior to your pending charge will not be counted as a prior conviction if at least 10 years has elapsed since the last violation. For example, if you are convicted for a second offense which occurred over 10 years after the first offense, you will be sentenced as a first offender. The key point to keep in mind in applying this rule is that the violation dates are to be used in determining whether a 10 year step-down applies. A common question posed by perspective clients concerns the ability to utilize a step-down more than once. While this is possible, the result does not yield a double elimination. In order words, if you go another 10 years without a violation, you can receive a step-down but only "one step". Alternative relief will therefore have to be sought for the offender who is trying to avoid jail as a third or subsequent offender when the violation would represent a fourth conviction or more (e.g. fourth would only be reduced to a third by the step-down). This frequently involves an attorney seeking post conviction relief under State v. Laurick.

Manchester Township NJ DWI Lawyer

Manchester Township has more than a healthy number of DWI offenses annually, as do several other municipalities in Ocean County. If you were arrested for DWI in this or another municipality in the region, consulting with a savvy defense lawyer is definitely something you need to do. Attorneys at Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the knowledge and skill to properly advise you with over 100 years of combined experience. To take advantage of a free consultation with an attorney, call us at (732) 286-6500.

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