Experienced DUI Lawyers in New Jersey Discuss What You Should Do When Charged with a DUI in Passaic County, New Jersey
We all know that you should not drink and drive. The reality is, however, that people don’t always follow this good advice. Maybe you have a few beers at your friend’s home in Wanaque and assume it’s okay because it’s a short ride home to North Haledon. You might be dining in your favorite restaurant in Wayne and think that a couple of glasses of wine can’t hurt. Or perhaps your co-workers in Clifton suggest an after-work cocktail to celebrate a particularly successful week.
These scenarios seem harmless—until you get pulled over by the police on your way home and are charged with DUI!
What Constitutes DUI in New Jersey?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” It is sometimes referred to as DWI, or “driving while intoxicated.” Each state specifies the blood alcohol content (BAC) level at which a driver is considered to be driving under the influence.
In New Jersey a driver with a BAC level of .08% or higher is considered DUI.
These are two exceptions:
- A driver of a commercial vehicle is DUI with a BAC of .04% or higher.
- A driver under the age of 21 is DUI with a BAC of .02% or higher.
Penalties for Conviction of a DUI Charge
Penalties for conviction of these offenses include fines, the revocation of your driver’s license, and jail time. Additionally, all convictions include a variety of fees, which can add up to a substantial amount.
A first conviction carries the following penalties:
- up to 30 days in jail;
- 3–12 months suspension of your driving license;
- $250–$500 fine; and
Penalties increase with the second and third offenses. The third conviction can carry a penalty of up to 180 days in jail, a 10-year suspension of your driver’s license, and a fine of up to $1000. Refer to our Traffic Ticket Point Point System page.
If a DUI offense occurs in a school zone, the penalties imposed are much higher. In fact, the offender’s driver’s license can be suspended for as long as 20 years for a third offense!
Preventing Future Offenses
In order to educate the driver to the dangers of drunk driving, convicted DUI offenders are also required to attend an Intoxication Driver Resource Center program.
The judge can also order the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for a period of up to 3 years. This device makes it impossible to start the vehicle before breathing into the IID. If the BAC is too high, the vehicle will not start. An IID is more likely to be ordered for repeat offenders.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
In addition to the substantial fines and fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars—even more for second and third offenses—a conviction can result in the loss of your driving privileges and even jail time. This can affect your job, your ability to carry out your responsibilities, your relationships, and even your freedom.
Most DUI cases begin with a police officer pulling over a vehicle for a traffic violation.
The officer first observes the driver’s behavior while operating the vehicle. After pulling the vehicle over, he or she monitors how the driver acts while departing the vehicle and during questioning.
If there is reason to believe that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then the officer may ask the driver to undergo sobriety testing.
Scientifically validated tests are performed to evaluate the driver’s ability to drive safely. These include balance, coordination, and the ability to process information.
It is not illegal in New Jersey to refuse to undergo the sobriety testing; however, your refusal may be held against you later on when the judge is considering your case.
The breathalyzer test measures the alcohol content in your blood. You may NOT refuse to submit to a breath analysis! That in and of itself is against the law, and there are steep penalties for refusing!
If the officer believes that there is sufficient probable cause for an arrest, you will be handcuffed, put into the police car, and brought to the police station for further questioning and testing. If this is the only charge, then at some point you will be allowed to make a phone call and arrange to be picked up.
Contact a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Handling DUI Cases
If you are charged with DUI, you should immediately contact a qualified New Jersey DUI lawyer. Your attorney will analyze your case and ensure that your rights are protected.
These are among the options your DUI attorney might advise:
- go to trial;
- plead guilty; or
- take advantage of a program to lessen the penalty (i.e., community service).
The facts of your case will determine which options are available and which your lawyer suggests.
Defense Against DUI Charges in New Jersey
These are some of the defenses that may be applicable to your defense:
- lack of reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle in the first place;
- no observable behavior that would lead to suspicion of intoxication;
- improper administration of the sobriety testing;
- defective equipment used to measure the BAC; and
- failure to inform you of your Miranda rights.
Contact a New Jersey DUI Attorney
As soon as possible after being charged with a DUI offense, it is crucial that you contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling cases involving DUI and other traffic violations.
The New Jersey DUI defense Lawyers at Aretsky Law Group, P.C., are experienced in handling DUI/DWI and other municipal court cases. We will analyze your unique situation, help you decide which path to take, and stand by you from start to finish.
Call us 24/7 at 1-800-537-4154 to discuss your case.