If you have been arrested for driving under the influence or DUI in Newark, New Jersey, you may be tempted to plead guilty and move on with your life. Even for a first time DUI arrest that could be a mistake. Gone are the days when drunk driving was considered a minor offense. Now you could be facing severe penalties, high fines and a long license suspension for a Newark DUI.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"] Newark Museum Facade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]
What should I do after a Newark DUI or drunk driving arrest?
The first step is always to talk to a drunk driving lawyer. The good news is most New Jersey DUI lawyers will provide a free consultation to review your case and give you more information about your options.
Drunk driving lawyers may not be cheap, but in the long run good legal counsel can really pay off, especially if they are able to get the charges dropped due to lack of evidence.
The second step is to determine what drunk driving penalties you face after a Newark DUI. Most drivers do not realize that they are likely to have their license suspended immediately if they either fail a blood alcohol concentration test or they refuse to submit to a BAC test. This type of license suspension is called an Administrative License Suspension, and it is a civil process rather than criminal one.
Penalties for an Administrative License Suspension are imposed even if you are not ultimately convicted of DUI. If you are facing a civil license suspension you can challenge this suspension but most drivers find it beneficial to talk to a DUI lawyer first. You will also have a very time to submit a request for a hearing.
The third step after a Newark DUI is to review the drunk driving penalties for New Jersey. Before you really can make an educated decision about whether or not to plead guilty you need to understand what you could be facing.
Some drivers plead guilty after a Newark DUI only to find out later that they have to pay unexpected fines, some for multiple years, and the charges cannot be expunged from their driving record, impacting their ability to get a job years later. Dont make that mistake.
New Jersey has graduated penalties for drivers with varying blood alcohol concentration so the penalties discussed below are specific for drivers who are arrested with a blood alcohol concentration which is above the legal limit of 0.08% but below 0.10%, if your BAC is higher than 0.10% than the fines and penalties will be higher.
If you are arrested for DUI in New Jersey fines can be as high as $700 but you will also have to pay a $1,000 surcharge for three years. You may be forced to spend up to 30 days in jail and serve 12 to 48 hours of community service.
Hiring a New Jersey DUI lawyer
As you can see, a Neward DUI is a serious offense. Do not try to fight this charge on your own without good legal help from a DUI lawyer.