- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Supreme Court says those accused of drunken driving in the state don’t have the right to a jury trial.

DWI isn’t a criminal offense in the state but those accused of it still jail time and steep fines for repeat offenses. The court ruled Thursday in a 5-1 decision that punishments for repeat offenders aren’t “sufficiently serious” to trigger a jury trial.

But the court warned the lawmakers that the penalties for DWI offenses have reached the “outer limit” of punishments for a non-criminal offense.

The ruling concerned the case of James Denelsbeck, who was accused of DWI. He demanded a jury trial but a municipal judge denied the request and he was convicted.

Denelsbeck’s attorney says he’s disappointed and will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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