You may think that an arrest for a DWI may not be a big deal, especially when you read the news about celebrities constantly being charged with the crime. However, a DWI charge is a very big deal, and one that you should not consider so lightly. This charge may seem like a simple traffic violation, but in reality it can really affect you later in life if you do not take the appropriate steps to handle it.
Common Mistakes After a DWI Arrest
The most common mistakes people make are as follows:
- Not hiring a qualified DWI attorney or hiring an attorney based on the fee alone: Who you hire to represent you in your case is the first most important thing to do after you have been charged with a DWI. Find someone who is qualified in this type of crime; do not rely on an attorney who does not list DWI as his or her specialty. Also, do not make your attorney decision based on the fee alone. This is your future, think about how much that is worth, not how much the attorney costs.
- Not understanding the consequences of the offense: Think about the penalties that come with the conviction of a DWI. The following describe the penalties in New Jersey:
- If your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is higher than .08% but less than .10%, you are looking at losing your license for 3 months, fines and fees up to $4,000, up to 30 days in jail, and attend mandatory programs at an Intoxicated Driving Resource Center.
- If your BAC is higher than .10%, you could lose your license up to 1 year, paying fines and fees exceeding $5,000, up to 30 days in jail, attend mandatory programs at an Intoxicated Driving Resource Center, and for BACs over .15%, an ignition interlock device will be installed for 6-12 months after you get your license back.
- If you have already been convicted of a previous DWI offense, you could lose your license from 2-10 years, paying fees and fines over $6,000, jail time ranging from 48 hours to 180 days, 30-90 days of community service, attend mandatory programs at an Intoxicated Driving Resource Center, and an ignition interlock device will be installed in your vehicle for 1-3 years.
- Waiting to hire a lawyer: The longer you wait, the harder it will be for even the most experienced DWI attorneys to help you. Waiting too long can lead to missing out on gathering important evidence and can limit your chances of a good outcome.
- Not having competent representation: Sometimes you might make the unfortunate realization the attorney you hired is not handling your case the way you would like. Just because you retained him or her does not mean you are stuck. Feel free to consult and hire other counsel if you are not satisfied.
- Not taking advantage of your Constitutional Rights: You may be unaware of many of the constitutional defenses that you can use during your case. A competent attorney who has worked an extensive amount of DWI cases will be able to advise you on what your rights are what sort of defenses will be the strongest in your case.
- Just pleading guilty: As shown above, the penalties for a DWI conviction can be hefty and can negatively affect your life for years after. If you plead guilty, you have no chance to defend yourself against the charges or at least get the charges reduced.
- Thinking that talking to attorneys will help you handle your own DWI: You may think that just using a few free consultations with attorneys will help you figure out exactly what you need to do to defend yourself, but the guidance attorneys provide in consultations are not adequate to prepare you to defend yourself. Having an attorney actually in the courtroom with you will be your best asset.
Help for a DWI Arrest in New Jersey
If you have been charged with a DWI, do not wait. Call an attorney experienced in DWI charges to help you handle your case. I am defense attorney Leon Matchin and I have the experience you need to defend against a DWI charge. I have successfully handled hundreds of cases with great outcomes—check out some of my success stories and see for yourself. The quality of my work speaks for itself. Call today for a free consultation at (732) 662-7658.