Regardless of the crime, evidence or situation, everyone in this country has the right of due process when they become involved in the criminal justice system. When that right is not upheld, the charges against someone can potentially be dropped. This is what recently happened in a New Jersey court pertaining to a drunk driving charge.

A man had been charged back in 2007 after an incident in which he hit a police car. The officer was injured in the collision. The driver was arrested and later pleaded guilty to assault with an automobile. He served a year’s probation for that particular charge.

The incident also resulted in a drunk driving charge that was set to be handled by a municipal court. The court took over a year to set an actual date for the charge: 16 months to be exact. An argument was made that this violated his right to a speedy trial and the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the charge of drunk driving must be dismissed since the municipal court failed to prosecute him in a timely manner.

While most New Jersey drunk driving cases proceed in an adequate and fair amount of time, this particular case highlights what can happen when an individual’s right to a speedy trial is violated. Just as the reading of Miranda Rights is a necessary step in the criminal system process and violation of that fact can lead to dismissal of charges, so can having a court date pushed back for an excessive amount of time. It would likely behoove anyone involved in the criminal court system to know these basic rights as they prepare to defend themselves from such allegations.

Source:, “NJ clears man of DUI because trial not speedy,” April 2, 2013