If you have been arrested for DWI in New Jersey, you may be feeling angry, confused and a little frightened of what you are about to face. Being arrested can be an embarrassing and dehumanizing event . The laws are strict and they are aggressively enforced. Without a roadmap of what to expect, moving forward without the help of an experienced professional is not a wise move. You will need an attorney who is familiar with the laws and the science, and who knows how to navigate the system. A DWI is a serious charge that can bring jail time, large fines, court and civic fees and license suspension. It is highly recommended that you contact an experienced local New Jersey DWI attorney as soon as possible to arrange a free consultation for your case.
If you are stopped for suspicion of DWI, the officer will take note of everything you say and do. You’ll be asked to provide your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. You should provide them without delay and without talking any more than necessary. If you speak rapidly, loudly, or jokingly, the officer will take note. If you seem like you are fumbling for your documents, it will be noted. Officers are trained to follow a standard set of warning signs published by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Board which include weaving, erratic braking, no headlights, slow acceleration and more. Once you’re stopped, they’ll look for bloodshot eyes, alcohol on breath and a disheveled look. In short, they’re looking to build a case. The less you speak, the better. You will be asked to take a breath test, and if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) results are .08 or higher, you will be considered to be intoxicated and driving illegally. You will be arrested and driven to jail where you’ll be fingerprinted, photographed and booked. Your vehicle will be impounded by law, and you will not be allowed to be booked out of jail until you are sober. Jail cells are brightly lit, very loud, and they generally smell terrible. Most likely you will be in a cell with a few dozen others. You will need to contact a lawyer with experience to fight your case properly.
New Jersey is different from most states, in that there is no administrative hearing before trial to determine license suspension. All driver’s license issues are handled by the court. You are not allowed a jury trial in New Jersey, instead you’ll have a bench trial, with the case being heard and adjudicated by a judge. By law, the judge may not offer any diversion programs for first time offenders. If you are found guilty, an appeal can be made to have the case transferred to Superior Court where a judge will consider your case again. The laws are complicated. Call for a free consultation and get your questions answered.
If you are arrested outside your home state, be sure to ask your attorney how this law will impact you.
The penalties listed below are called for by statute, are not complete, and can often be removed or reduced significantly with the assistance of a local New Jersey DWI attorney.
• Incarceration – up to 30 days in prison
• Fines & Fees – $250-$500 fine; $1,000/yr for 3 years surcharge; $100 to drunk driving fund; $100 to Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund; $230 Intoxicated Driver Resource Center fee; $75 to neighborhood services fund
• License Suspension – 3 months to 1 year
• Ignition Interlock – BAC .15 or over during license suspension and 6 months to 1 year following restoration
ADDITIONAL COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
• Bail – set by the court, required before being released after being arrested
• Towing and Impound – impoundment by law plus towing and impound fees
• Insurance –As a designated “high risk” driver, your rates will be raised significantly by your insurance company, possibly even doubling for several years.
• Record – DUI conviction will remain on driving record permanently
• Employment – offender may lose time off work and possibly even their job.
• Immigration and travel – restrictions can apply with certain conviction
Additional offenses will bring significantly higher penalties, up to 6 months in prison and $5,500 in fines. Don’t take a chance with your freedom. It is highly recommended that you contact a qualified local DUI attorney right away for a FREE CONSULTATION on your case. Your case CAN be won with the right representation.