New Jersey DUI/DWI FAQ
When facing charges for DUI/DWI in NJ there are many questions going through your mind. At The Darling Law Firm, we believe it is important for you to know the facts before your matter is heard by a judge. We offer the following information with the hope it will help you to better decide how to resolve your driving while intoxicated matter.
What is the difference between DUI and DWI in NJ?
There is no difference between DUI and DWI in NJ. Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Under the Influence are one in the same charge and may be based on driving after or during the consumption of either drugs or alcohol.
Is there a provisional license available in NJ, enabling me to commute to work?
No, not at this time. Although under consideration by the legislature at this time, there is no existing provisional license for work, school, hospital visits or other needs.
How can I beat DUI/DWI Charges in NJ?
Every DUI case is fact sensitive. You should meet with an experienced DUI/DWI attorney to review all the facts of your case immediately. The attorney needs your side of the story, road conditions, whether there were factors other than the DWI contributing to any accident, whether there were witnesses available for you or the State, any medications you are taking, whether you have any injuries which may have affected results of field sobriety tests and many other pieces of information. Your lawyer will also need to obtain discovery from the State and find out the strength of the State’s case against you. It is important that the attorney you hire knows what to look for in the documents they are reviewing in order to beat the State’s case. You should never simply plead guilty to DUI unless an experienced DUI lawyer reviews all facts and advises you it is your only option.
What will happen to my insurance coverage and rates if I plead guilty or am convicted of DUI/DWI in NJ?
If you are convicted or plead guilty to DUI/DWI in NJ, insurance carriers may refuse to issue or renew auto insurance coverage. If you are able to find an insurer to cover you, it will be through an “assigned risk” program and for a period of 3 years your rates will be double to triple standard rates.
What if I have a prior DUI/DWI charge in another state?
Prior DUI/DWI convictions, whether from NJ or out of state, appearing on your driving record constitute prior charges as long as they would constitute prior charges in NJ. There are certain exceptions, including an out of State DUI with a BAC reading of less than the NJ minimum level of .08% BAC. Also, in the event of a 2nd DUI/DWI offense, if the 1st offense was more than 10 years prior, the 2nd DUI will be considered a 1st for charging purposes. Likewise, a NJ DUI/DWI will likely appear on your out of state driver’s license and your driving privileges will be suspended in the State your license was issued, as well as New Jersey.
How does the State prove I was driving under the influence of drugs, not alcohol?
Typically proof of the presence of drugs is proven by blood or urine tests and observations of an officer who is a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) as they administer a specific series of testing. There are many factors which may affect performance during a DRE exam and drugs may remain present in your blood long after their affects on your ability to operate a motor vehicle have disappeared. An experienced DUI attorney will advise you to hire an independent DRE to review the test results, factors which may have influenced them and testify at trial against the State’s evidence. With the right facts and preparation, these charges may be defeated.
What if I refused to take a breath test?
There are severe penalties for refusal including loss of driving privileges for 7-12 months, substantial fines and Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) commitment on a first offense. The penalties become more severe each time you are charged with refusal. The state must prove that your refusal occurred only after you were advised of the consequences of the refusal, by a specific statement to be read to you by the arresting officers, and given the opportunity to provide breath samples. An experienced DWI lawyer will know that simply having the statement read to you by officers does not mean you fully understood your rights and consequences.
What if I was not advised of my right to remain silent?
There is no requirement that you be advised of your Miranda Rights until you are being taken into custody. This means you need not be Mirandized prior to field sobriety tests or general roadside questioning. At the time you are taken into custody you must be Mirandized. If you are not Mirandized, you will not necessarily receive an automatic dismissal. Rather, any statements you made prior to being advised of your Miranda Rights may be suppressed.
Can I be sentenced to jail for a DUI?
For a 1st offense, there is the possibility of 30 days jail time. An experience DUI attorney can help to prevent incarceration and limit your exposure to the statutory minimum penalties if they cannot obtain a dismissal of charges. For a 2nd DUI offense there is mandatory jail time of 2 to 90 days. For a 3rd or subsequent offense, you are exposed to a mandatory minimum of 180 days in jail if you plead or are found guilty after a trial. It is critical that you seek an experienced DWI attorney to do all they can to have the charges dismissed in the event you are charged with DUI.
What is Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)?
IDRC is an education program to raise awareness of the dangers of abuse of intoxicants. In addition to education, you will be evaluated by an IDRC staff member to determine whether you are in need of additional education or treatment. Compliance with the IDRC evaluator’s recommendation will result in inability to restore your driving privileges at the end of your suspension period.
What is an ignition interlock device?
An ignition interlock device is installed in your vehicle which requires submission of a breath sample in order to start the vehicle. In the event a certain Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) registers on the device the vehicle will not operate. The device may be installed by a State certified facility and, on installation, you will be given proof of installation by the facility which may be submitted to the court or DMV to show compliance. You will be required to return to the location of installation every 60 days to have the device checked and to have the device uninstalled at the end of the term for which it was required. There is a fee for the device, monthly and/or upon installation.
Will the prosecutor accept a guilty plea to a lower charge in a DUI/DWI matter?
Unlike other minor violations, or felonies for that matter, there are no plea agreements permitted in NJ DUI/DWI matters. In a DUI/DWI matter you should have experienced legal counsel review your matter for weaknesses in the State’s case and make every effort to have the charges against you dismissed.
Resolving DUI/DWI Matters Throughout Northern, NJ
The attorneys of The Darling Law Firm will thoroughly review all the evidence in your case and aggressively pursue every possible means to obtain a dismissal of the DUI/DWI charges against you. If the State’s case is too strong to obtain a dismissal, in spite of all attempts, we will make every effort to minimize the penalties you face. Our attorneys regularly practice law in the counties of Morris, Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Union and Sussex. If you are visiting this webpage, now is the time to call 973-584-6200 today to schedule an initial consultation and protect your rights or click here to e-mail us.
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