Thursday, August 22, 2013

DWI/DUI Misinformation or It's on the Internet so it Must be True?

Guy DiMartino, D.C., Esq. (we went to undergrad and Chiropractic College together)
my "friend" for over 33 years.

I have one good friend. Others may have hundreds of facebook friends but I have a handful of real friends. He and I go back over thirty years (we were teens together). He thinks I get too worked up over things. Hey Larry, why do you care that someone said this or that? What does it have to do with you? Why does it bother you?

Maybe he is right, I am a bit high strung. I hate (a strong word) professionals that use sensationalism to fear people into stuff. What I am talking about is all the mis-information "as in" wrong stuff that my fellow lawyers publish online. So what's REAL?

Sharing Should Rhyme with Caring

The internet is for sharing but shouldn't we all care about what we put out?

One Prime example, from DWILAWYER.COM, written by an attorney who is not licensed in New Jersey. I checked. This article mis-represents, and mis-interprets New Jersey DUI law. Whether someone relies upon this before or after a DUI is another story.

"Refusal to Take Breathalyzer in NJ is a Crime!"

This was off the DWILAWYER.COM website, prime location, page one, in my area. They are a lawyer referral service. They refer to lawyers.  They have a lot of DUI/DWI articles for many states.

REAL ANSWER: No it is NOT, and guess what neither is a DUI in New Jersey. It is in New York State, but not in New Jersey. He even backs it up with naming the statute, big deal. It doesn't add legitimacy when you state things incorrectly. Why? IMO Because CRIME invokes emotion, CRIME drives FEAR, and CRIME creates a better headline (like the New York Post), it sounds better than traffic offense. 

There are enough real things to be afraid of, there are real "crimes" like a NYS DWI but hey don't be an attorney anywhere and blatantly misstate the state law.

Back to New Jersey, where I am also licensed btw but I choose to practice in NYS. New Jersey has Summary Offenses, DUI there is a traffic offense (a serious one) but it is NOT a CRIME. 

Again, off this website, more bullshit (sorry but this incenses me):

New Jersey has a distinct crime "Refusal to Submit to a Breathalyzer" N.J.S.A. sec 39:4-50.2 This crime is so serious that it can carry the same punishment as a conviction for DWI.

REAL ANSWER: No it is NOT, and it does not even have the possibility of jail time. 

The primary difference between the DWI Statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) and the Refusal Statute in New Jersey in terms of penalties is the possibility of jail time. The DWI Statute carries a possibility for jail time, the Refusal Statute has no provision for jail time.

Why should I care?  

I care because mis-information hurts everyone. We have to rely or trust something. I want to trust online reviews to be balanced. I want professionals to share of their experience and knowledge but please don't share UNLESS it is fair, it is accurate, and it is transparent. 

My disclaimer: 

I publish stuff, like this blog post all the time. I try to be clear, but the law is dynamic (ever changing), and moreso their (law) application in various jurisdictions can vary greatly. For example: New York State Criminal and Non-criminal law has a wide ranges of punishments, some evenly applied and others not even close. Knowing the Court, County, Judge, and the area of law help level the playing field. I find it almost comical when lawyers give blanket information. "Blanket" as in covering a wide area and with legal certainty. 

Remember that Certainty Lessens FEAR

You want more certainty in your legal process? Then hire (take counsel and legal advice) an attorney who is focused (concentrates) on that area of law, who is licensed in that jurisdiction, and who eats, breathes, and sleeps in that courthouse. BTW Speaking of NJ, One of the best DUI lawyers I Know in New Jersey is Evan Levow, ESQ.    877-735-2288

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., ESQ.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law