The DUI process may begin the moment you are pulled over after drinking alcohol or abusing drugs, but that does not mean you will always be punished.
DUI defenses can effectively prove innocence, or limit the penalties. New Jersey uses the same basic system for pulling you over, charging you with DUI, and punishing you that all states use, but there are some key differences. Foremost are the penalties involved, where each state can be different. What stays the same is the BAC (blood alcohol content) you are tested at; if you have a .08% BAC or higher, you can be charged with a DUI nationwide.
What penalties are we talking about? You can expect fines, license suspension, to have your car equipped with an ignition interlock system, jail time, and sometimes community service.
Why You’re Pulled Over
New Jersey police officers have a basic system for pulling you over. First and foremost is your driving; instead of trying to see if you look intoxicated, officers base their initial decisions on your driving. On the other hand, you may get pulled over for a simple violation, but, upon being found to be intoxicated, can be charged. Officers look at how you’re driving, not always if you’re breaking minor laws such as with a speeding infraction. If you pass in and out of lanes, if you come to rolling stops, if you speed through a yellow light, these can be overlooked but sometimes can lead to your being pulled over.
First Time Offenders
New Jersey laws punish you severely for drinking and driving. You will be charged more severely if you have a BAC of .10% or greater.
You may face license suspension, where for a first DUI you can lose your license for 7 months to one year. You are then forced to pay various fees which can really add up, including some fines unique to New Jersey, such as the $75 Neighborhood services fund and others ranging from hundreds of dollars to over $1,000. You can expect up to 30 days in jail. You may also be forced into community service. Finally, when your license suspension is over, you may have an ignition interlock device put on your car, which ensures you have no alcohol in your system upon driving.
If you have a BAC of .08% to .10%, the penalties are less.
Multiple offenders face the maximum New Jersey DUI penalties. You can expect longer jail time, more fines, a much longer license suspension, and other penalties taken further. If you’re pulled over for one DUI, then another within 10 years time, you can be punished as a repeat offender. You also risk being charged with a felony and facing extended jail time.
New Jersey DUI Defense
Simply getting charged with a DUI can be a life changing event, but it’s important to know you still have a right to a defense. You need an experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer who can defend you in court. There are many cases where defendants win in trial based on the validity of the DUI tests, the actions of the officer, and the knowledge of a DUI lawyer. Since breath tests can be called into question, since officers do not always act correctly, your lawyer has a chance to defend you. Instead of pleading guilty, consider that you can at the least get the minimum penalties, and sometimes even be found innocent.