Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a dangerous act that is taken seriously by the legal system. If you are charged with a DUI or DWI for the first time and are in the state of New Jersey, you could find yourself overwhelmed and full of questions. There are several frequently asked questions to review, which can help you better understand the situation and the charges you are facing.
What Constitutes a DUI or DWI in New Jersey?
In the state of New Jersey, you can be charged with a DUI if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) registers at a .08 or higher. If you are under the age of 21, you can be charged with a DUI if you have any traces of alcohol in your system. Local law enforcement can obtain these results through a breathalyzer or a blood or urine test. If you are under suspicion of having taken drugs, you may be required to provide a blood or urine sample.
What are the Possible Punishments for a First Offense?
Due to the seriousness of this crime, there are stiff potential penalties for even those that have no prior convictions or charges related to driving under the influence. The maximum penalties for a first-time offender include a fine of up to $400, loss of driving privileges for up to three months, and a requirement to attend an education class administered by the state. There is also a chance that you could even spend up to 90 days in prison for even your first offense. If you had a BAC in excess of 0.10, or were pulled over in a school zone while under the influence, the penalties can be even more significant.
What Other Impacts Can a DUI Have?
While you are bound to receive some punishment from law enforcement due to the DUI, it is not the only way these charges can impact your life. Generally, you should expect that your auto insurance rates will increase dramatically for at least a couple of years until you once again can show a clean driving record. Additionally, those that are charged with DUI can face challenges with their job, particularly if not having a license precludes their commute or ability to perform the required tasks.
What Happens if I am Charged Again?
While there are serious penalties for a first offense, those that are charged with a DUI again in the future can face even more significant punishments. For a second conviction, you can lose your license for up to two years and spend up to 90 days in prison. For a third conviction, the total imprisonment can be up to 180 days and you could lose your license for as long as ten years.
Should I Hire an Attorney
Those that are charged with a DUI should seek outside legal counsel. Your attorney can offer some valuable services that can help you in your situation. This can include providing a full consultation and representation. Further, they will likely have local relationships with law enforcement and prosecutors. This can help as it will provide you with a better chance to negotiate a favorable plea, which could come with a reduced punishment.
If you are charged with a DUI or DWI in New Jersey, it is a criminal charge that you need to take seriously. Due to this, having legal support by your side should be considered a necessity. When you are looking for legal support here, you should call the law offices of Michael J. Fioretti, Esq. This legal team can provide a variety of services that will ensure you are properly represented and receive a fair outcome based on the charges.