You go to a restaurant. Maybe you’ve had a couple beers. You get in your car, start driving and fail to make a complete stop at a stop sign. The police lights shine in your rear view. You’re getting pulled over. Suspecting DUI, NJ police officers administer a field sobriety test. You fail, get arrested and are slapped with drunk driving charges. This frightening situation is all too common. Even when you think you haven’t had enough alcohol to impair you, it’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel after a few drinks. If you get charged with a DWI NJ offense, the first thing you should do is contact a DUI attorney. Also, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on NJ DUI laws.
Drunk Driving Charges and Your First Steps
- Build your knowledge of DWI NJ law.
When it comes to DUI NJ protocol, first, you’ll want grasp a full understanding of the charges that are being brought against you. While drunk driving charges are common, this doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely serious. Although most U.S. states classify it as a misdemeanor, it is possible to have a felony charge. For instance, if you’re a repeat offender, or your NJ DUI incident causes another injury or death, a more serious DWI NJ charge can follow. Keep in mind that according to NJ DUI laws, the penalties for drunk driving can vary from jail time to fines to community service. There’s also a good chance you will lose your license for an extended period of time.
- What to Do Right After Your DWI NJ Arrest
No matter what state you’re arrested in for DWI or DUI, you’re entitled to certain rights as described in the U.S. Constitution. Upon arrest, you have the right to remain silent—a critical right. Even if you believe the drunk driving charges are erroneous, be sure to exercise this right. Any NJ DWI attorney will tell you that whatever you say at the arrest can be used against you in a court of law. You’re less likely to incriminate yourself if you stay quiet. And that means refraining from answering police or investigator questions. Be sure to exercise your right to an NJ DWI attorney. Once you’re taken into custody, you can contact your own attorney and have him or her represent when you’re responding to questions. Can’t afford a NJ DWI attorney? No worries. You can have a public defender appointed for you at no charge.
- Deciding on a defense
You and your NJ DWI attorney will decide on a defense that applies specifically to your case. Your defense is what you present in court in an attempt to either prove you’re not guilty or prove that the prosecution has insufficient evidence to convict you. For instance, let’s say you were charged with a DUI NJ offense after an officer observed you driving erratically. Your NJ DWI attorney may argue that your erratic driving was caused by sleepiness or allergies—something much less severe than drunk driving. Also, there are DWI NJ defenses that question the accuracy of field sobriety tests and blood-alcohol content tests.
- Entering into a Plea Bargain
If you and your NJ DWI attorney don’t foresee one of these defenses working, a plea bargain with the prosecution may be your best bet. In essence, you admit guilt in exchange for a lighter sentence and possibly lesser charges.
- Expungement of Drunk Driving Charges
Even with conviction of DUI or DWI NJ charges, there’s a chance you can get this crime removed from your record, or expunged after a certain amount of time. DUI NJ expungement will either seal or destroy records of your conviction as part of NJ DUI law.
Obviously the best way to avoid dealing with the hassles that come with drunk driving charges is to never get behind the wheel when intoxicated. But if you’re beyond that point, and you’re already dealing with the effects, the best thing to do is know your rights. Make sure you’re protected with a competent NJ DWI attorney who practices DWI and DUI NJ defense law. Don’t let a DUI charge destroy your life. You have options.