What Happens When You’re Charged with a DUI
DUI is short for driving under the influence (of drugs or alcohol). Specific to alcohol, it is also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or simply drunk driving. The amount of alcohol in your blood is measured as Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC. In New Jersey, if your BAC is .08 or higher, you are driving drunk. The BAC is determined with the use of a breathalyzer, a small device in which you breathe. This is usually administered during a traffic stop where the officer suspects DUI. If you fail this ‘test,’ you are immediately arrested and must leave your car.
As a New Jersey DUI lawyer, I recently asked friends at a party, “Do you want to be that person driving under the influence?” It’s embarrassing, costly, and a major inconvenience. Something as simple as one drink too many could cost you thousands of dollars, your job, your privilege to drive, and even your family. As a DUI attorney, I’ve seen it all, and it can be heartbreaking. Not only could you lose your license for 7 to 12 months, but you could also spend up to 30 days in the county jail, depending on how much you drank. And that’s for a first offense!
My party friends asked about the consequences of a DUI when a friend chimed in … “I’ve had a DUI and it sucks.” He explained the grief he put his family through, the expense, the humiliating job rides, and the surcharges implemented by the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission for three years following the DUI charge.
Another partier spoke up, “My cousin got his 2nd DUI, had an accident, lost his license for 2 years, and had to spend 30 days in jail.” As an experienced DUI lawyer, I can tell you these are significant consequences you face with driving under the influence. Because of the stigma associated with these charges, it will be difficult to fight the allegations. You will need expert legal representation on your side. Call now to learn your rights in this situation. There is no cost or obligation.
How an experienced New Jersey DUI/DWI attorney can help
An experienced attorney…
- knows the law and the rules of the court in your county
- knows how to best present your defense
- knows what can and cannot be used as evidence
- knows what questions to ask of witnesses
- knows how to expose weaknesses in the prosecution
- knows how to downplay facts of your case that are not in your favor
- knows how to highlight what is in your favor
- knows how and when to ask for evidence (such as police dashcam video)
- knows how to dispute scientific evidence (many things can affect a breathalyzer)
- knows how to choose jurors that are more likely to help your case
- knows how to negotiate a lighter sentence
How to avoid a DUI charge
If you really want to drown your sorrows with alcohol, it’s best you do so in the safety of your home. Do not get behind the wheel and risk your life or the lives of others. However, if you wish to responsibly enjoy a cocktail or two out with friends, you’ll want to be mindful of what you’re drinking and how much. With good planning, a DUI can be avoided.
- Assign a designated driver for the night, one who will not drink.
- Have Uber, Lyft, or a trusted friend on speed dial.
- Limit yourself to 2 (max 3) drinks and have water—not a Long Island iced tea!—between each.
- Be extra careful behind the wheel because a motor vehicle accident will almost certainly result in a roadside sobriety test.
- Don’t ever drive after midnight. Bad things happen. Stay where you are and sleep or get a ride – with a sober driver.
- “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.“
- Never, ever, sleep drunk in your car with the keys in or near the As a DUI lawyer, I can advise you this is still DUI. If you have the means and opportunity to operate the vehicle, it’s deemed operation. Operation is driving. Even though you have no intention of driving, just the fact that you could drive may be enough to warrant a charge.
Exceptions to losing your driving privileges
As a DUI lawyer, I can report that New Jersey has amended its laws to make some exceptions for DUI. In certain circumstances, the Judge may allow driving to/from work. The stipulation to this is allowing a fully operational interlocutory ignition device to be installed in your car. “If you blow, you can go.” The device measures your BAC. A clean breath blow and you can drive, potentially saving thousands of dollars, your job, and family grief.
Have you been charged?
If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI or any moving motor vehicle traffic offense or drug-related offense in Morris, Sussex, or Warren County, New Jersey, contact me as soon as possible to get expert legal advice. There is no charge to have a brief telephone consultation advising you of your legal rights and obligations. Having a NJ attorney with 30 years’ experience in DUI cases can make all the difference. Knowledge, experience, and integrity matter. ###