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Experience

DWI attorney new jerseyRichard R. Uslan has been a distinguished and respected municipal court and criminal law trial attorney for almost forty years.  He is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Municipal Court Trial Attorney. There are over 93,000 attorneys admitted to the practice of Law in New Jersey, and only a very small percentage are Certified Municipal Court Trial Attorneys.

He began his career representing criminal defendants in appellate matters before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1978.  Since that time, he has personally represented several thousands of clients in every county court,  and in almost all of the over 500 municipal courts in the State of New Jersey.  In addition to being featured in legal, State and Local news publications, he has  appeared as an expert legal commentator on the nationally broadcast ABC-TV News Magazine “Nightline”, on WCBS-TV  – New York (Channel Two) and on the nationally syndicated “Joey Reynolds Show”, broadcast from New York City on WOR-AM Radio.

ABC NEWS NIGHTLINE AMBIEN STORY WITH RICHARD R. USLAN


He was appointed as an Assistant Essex County Prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey in 1979, representing the State of New Jersey in Habeas Corpus Petitions filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.   As an Assistant Prosecutor, he successfully argued over 35 appeals  in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division,  before his promotion directly to the Criminal Jury Trial Section, where he continued his successful tenure trying over forty criminal jury trials to verdict.    He was a member of the faculty of the Essex County Police Academy, where he taught Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Constitutional Law to members of law enforcement. Ultimately, in 1981, he became one of only three attorneys in the entire State of New Jersey appointed to prosecute specially designated  “Career Criminals”. Because these defendants, based upon their extensive prior history of violent crimes, were not offered “plea bargains”, Mr. Uslan prepared each case for trial before a Judge and Jury immediately after the defendant’s arrest and designation as a “Career Criminal”. He presented each case to the Grand Jury, and represented the State in all pretrial motions and hearings leading up to and including trial.

Following his successful career at the Prosecutor’s Office and a brief period of civil trial practice with a small Union County firm, Mr. Uslan began his own law firm in late 1983. He was in the vanguard of the relatively few attorneys who devoted their legal practice almost exclusively to the area of municipal court matters; and in particular, was a pioneer in the defense of individuals charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), a fertile and specialized area of the law which comprises the majority of his legal practice to this day.

He is certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), having completed an extensive training program recognized by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.   SFST is a tool utilized by law enforcement in Drunk Driving investigation and prosecution.    He has drawn upon that experience,  and his additional education and training in the chemical and physical sciences, to create novel, compelling, creative and unique defenses for his clients, who have numbered in the several thousands, and who would otherwise have suffered potentially devastating and humiliating consequences as a result of arrests for crimes and serious traffic violations.

It was Mr. Uslan who, over a span of almost three years of litigation, first created and developed what is now an accepted legal defense to DWI in New Jersey — “Common-law Pathological Intoxication” – that counter-intuitively utilizes a defendant’s actual state of intoxication as a defense to Driving under the Influence (DUI).   That landmark case has since compelled a re-examination of the definition of what is often a necessary, critical element of proof in DWI-DUI prosecution — “Intent to Drive” – which, prior to his case, was viewed only in a strict liability context, where a motorist’s intention whether to have driven or not was considered irrelevant.  The defense  is more commonly, though inartfully,  referred to as the “Ambien Defense” or the “Sleep-Driving Defense”.  Successfully creating, developing and formulating an entirely new and unique DWI defense recognized as a matter of law in New Jersey is an extreme rarity.

Following his success in that case, Mr. Uslan was acknowledged by a learned Law School Professor on the subject of DWI Law and Practice as having successfully defended the most difficult DWI case ever chronicled in New Jersey jurisprudence.  That is easy to conclude when the Judge in that case acquitted Mr. Uslan’s client of DWI even though the .10% breath test result was admitted into evidence (that level is well over the legal limit of intoxication), and  it was uncontested that the client was driving a vehicle in an extremely hazardous fashion, performed physical road tests poorly,  and admitted to consuming wine and prescription medications.

As a result of that ground-breaking DWI-DUI case, attorney’s and expert witnesses, not just in New Jersey, but throughout the country, have sought Mr. Uslan’s advice and counsel to incorporate this defense into their legal practice and to utilize it, where appropriate, in their cases, for their own clients, particularly in matters involving Driving Under the Influence of lawfully prescribed medications, but also for serious crimes, including homicides.  The case has also been cited in the Duquesne School of Law Criminal Law Journal, and the New Jersey Law Journal, which, in particular, noted this unpublished court decision as having been the most requested case by New Jersey attorneys on the subject of  both criminal law and traffic law in 2009, the year the case was decided.  This was  no small feat when one considers that several thousands of unpublished opinions are authored by our judiciary annually.

Attorney Uslan’s extensive understanding of the applicable law and appellate procedure, including State post-conviction relief applications (similar to Federal Habeas Corpus matters Mr. Uslan handled early in his legal career) enables him to use every possible method to help his clients challenge an unfavorable trial court ruling or sentence.   He also regularly assists defendants facing imminent terms of imprisonment and lengthy license suspension for many other serious motor vehicle infractions existing under New Jersey law, including  Driving While Suspended or Revoked, Leaving the Scene of an Accident and Driving without Insurance. His earlier experience in criminal prosecution as an Essex County Assistant Prosecutor, and as a municipal court prosecutor in municipalities located in Morris and Union County has also made Mr. Uslan well-positioned and highly qualified to defend clients who have been charged with major crimes, including those involving drug-related offenses and motor vehicle operation, such as Eluding and Assault by Auto.

In several hundred instances, Mr. Uslan has successfully petitioned on behalf of his clients for the Expungement of their criminal record and the sealing of their police reports and processing information (police photo, fingerprints, DNA samples), following their arrest and/or conviction of crimes or offenses.  In fact, he was the first attorney in the State of New Jersey to successfully advocate for the Expungement of a Decedent, an area of expungement law neither attempted or thought of for the several decades that expungements have been an available statutory remedy in New Jersey for persons who had been arrested or convicted of crimes or offenses.  This novel and successful legal procedure in expungement law, just as with the “Common-law Pathological Intoxication defense he created in drunk driving law,  provide fresh approaches to old areas of the law that, because of Mr. Uslan, other attorneys in New Jersey are now attempting to utilize on behalf of their clients when appropriate.

His practice also encompasses representing clients in other legal matters stemming from criminal and traffic defense, such as defending  juveniles charged with criminal offenses; appearing in hearings for Final Restraining Orders in Domestic Violence matters; and actively assisting clients restore their driving privileges before the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and the Office of Administrative Law.

His earlier prosecutorial experience involving defendants charged with theft crimes, and his representation of a major retail chain prosecuting store patrons charged with Shoplifting, have given him the keen insight necessary to successfully defend clients facing the potential penalties and humiliation that accompany their arrest for these offenses.   Mr. Uslan also enjoys representing clients in Name Change Applications.  This need may arise for a variety of reasons:  after a divorce, to advance a business purpose, to correct a clerical error in a birth certificate, to create uniformity among several legal documents, or as a matter of purely aesthetic, personal preferences.

As a member of the Faculty of Garden State Continuing Legal Education, Mr. Uslan unselfishly devotes a substantial amount of time, without compensation,  teaching Judges and fellow attorneys the ever-expanding body of statutory and case law involving municipal court practice, and criminal law and procedure.  He regulary shares his knowledge of the intricate nuances that exist in these legal specialties, that he has accumulated over more than thirty years of practicing law.  He has personally handled thousands upon thousands of municipal court and criminal cases throughout New Jersey. He has been invited to lecture before Bar Associations, Law Schools, Colleges and High Schools. His experience as an educator has assisted him in remaining current with the ever-evolving law and he is always on the cutting edge of new developments that benefit his clients.

In addition to his membership of the Bar of the State and Federal Courts of New Jersey, Mr. Uslan is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C.; the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia; the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan; the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn; the Bar of the State of New York; and has previously been admitted pro hac vice to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and the District Court of Logan County, Kentucky. He is a Distinctive Scholar graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and from New York Law School.