Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Defense

New Jersey DUI Lawyers

New Jersey enforces some of the most stringent DUI laws in the country, applying even to first-time offenders. When faced with a DUI arrest, the stakes are high, involving potentially severe consequences that could affect various aspects of your life. However, numerous defenses can be employed to fight these charges.

A DUI charge is not something to handle alone. Without the guidance of a skilled attorney, you risk severe penalties that can impact your ability to drive, your employment, and your overall quality of life. At Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC, our experienced New Jersey DUI lawyers understand what is at stake. We provide comprehensive and aggressive legal defense for clients facing DUI charges, striving to minimize the impact on your life and ensure the best possible outcome.

New Jersey’s Drunk Driving Offenses

In New Jersey, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. In addition to being charged with DUI, you may face additional offenses such as:

  • DUI with injury or death by auto
  • Possession of an open container
  • Refusing to consent to a breath test
  • Underage drunk driving
  • DUI with a minor passenger

Traffic Offense and Court Process

Driving under the influence in New Jersey is classified as a traffic offense rather than a criminal offense. This means that you are not entitled to a jury trial if you are charged with a DUI. Instead, a municipal court judge will determine the outcome and impose penalties based on the specific circumstances of your case.

New Jersey law prohibits prosecutors from offering plea bargains, downgrading charges, or commuting sentences in DUI cases. This makes it critically important to retain legal representation if you are charged with a DUI. An experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer can navigate the legal system, seek to have your charges dismissed or use other legal strategies to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Penalties for DUI in New Jersey

Penalties for DUI in New Jersey vary depending on the offender’s DUI history and any aggravating factors present at the time of the arrest. For instance, potential penalties for first-time DUI offenses include:

  • Fines: Ranging from $200 to $400.
  • Insurance surcharges: These can significantly increase your insurance premiums.
  • License suspension: Indefinite loss of driving privileges.
  • Ignition interlock device (IID): Installation of an IID for three months requires you to blow into the device to check your BAC before the vehicle starts.
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center: Mandatory holding for up to 48 hours at a designated center.
  • Jail time: Up to 30 days in jail.

New Jersey’s Implied Consent Law

New Jersey operates under an implied consent law, meaning that by driving on New Jersey roads, you have already consented to submit to an Alcotest breath test (commonly known as a breathalyzer) if stopped on suspicion of DUI. If you refuse to take the test, the prosecution can use your BAC level against you. Moreover, refusal is a separate offense with penalties, even if you are not convicted of the DUI charge.

Proving DUI Offenses in New Jersey

In DUI cases, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. They must establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means they need to prove that you were operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. The prosecution only needs to prove one of these elements.

Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in New Jersey?

Due to New Jersey’s implied consent laws, refusing a breathalyzer test can result in immediate penalties, including license suspension and additional fines. By driving in New Jersey, you are deemed to have consented to these tests if lawfully requested by a police officer.

IID Requirements

An IID device installed in your vehicle requires you to blow into it to measure your BAC before starting the car. In New Jersey, IIDs are often mandated for certain DUI offenses. The duration of the IID installation depends on the offense’s specifics and any prior convictions. This device is a safeguard to prevent individuals with a history of DUI from operating a vehicle while impaired.

Expunging a DUI From Your Record

A DUI conviction generally cannot be expunged in New Jersey from your record. The offense remains on your driving record for a specified number of years, depending on the nature of the offense and any subsequent convictions. This permanence underscores the importance of fighting DUI charges effectively from the outset.

Driving With a Restricted License After a DUI Charge

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be eligible for a restricted license during your license suspension period. This restricted license typically allows you to drive to work, school, or other essential activities. Eligibility for a restricted license is often contingent on installing an IID in your vehicle.

The Necessity of Legal Representation for DUI/DWI Cases

While you are not legally required to have an attorney for DUI charges, self-representation can lead to severe consequences due to the complex nature of DUI laws and the harsh penalties for convictions. Working with an experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer gives you the best chance to defend yourself against the charges and protect your rights.

Our New Jersey DUI Lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC Will Help You Today

At Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC, our New Jersey DUI lawyers are dedicated to defending clients against DUI charges. We understand the serious implications of a DUI conviction. Call 732-920-8383 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Manasquan and Brick, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County.