Joe Giudice, husband of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice was sentenced to 10 days in the Morris County jail for driving with a suspended license. Mr. Giudice’s license was under suspension following a dwi conviction in Montville New Jersey.
According to New Jersey Law N.J.S. 39:3-40(f)(2), a defendant who is convicted of driving while under suspension for a dwi conviction “shall … have his license … suspended for an additional period of not less than one year or more than two years, and shall be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than 10 days or more than 90 days.”
I have handled many cases where clients are charged with driving under suspension for dwi, and have successfully argued around the 10 to 90 day jail term. The statute (N.J.S. 39:3-40) does not prohibit a jail alternative such as a county labor assistance program, making such an alternative to jail a viable sentence. I have also been able to get the charge reduced to a lesser charge because plea-bargaining of the charge is permitted (unlike the nj dwi statute where plea bargaining is prohibited). A jail term can also be avoided where the plea was made without counsel. In that case a petition can be made in the court where the dwi conviction occurred to get a protective order consistent with State v. Laurick, 120 N.J. 1, (1990), certiorari denied 111 S.Ct. 429, 498 U.S. 967, 112 L.Ed.2d 413 (1990). The jail term can also be avoided where the dwi plea was taken in contradiction of New Jersey Court Rules and the Defendant’s constitutional rights. In that case, a petition can be made in the the court where the dwi conviction occurred to vacate the plea altogether. Lastly, sometimes, the underlying case is faulty – for example, where the stop was made without an adequate constitutional basis. A successful challenge to the charge of driving while suspended (for a dwi conviction) is possible. I am not sure whether a successful defense could have been mounted for Mr. Giudice’s charge. I am going to try to get the records from the Lincoln Park New Jersey Police and Court for curiosity sake.