Getting a DUI (driving under the influence charge) can be scary and overwhelming. Each state has its own DUI laws and consequences, so after you get pulled over, you might not even know what to do next. First, the police officer at the scene will perform a field sobriety test to determine if you are intoxicated. If you are arrested for a DUI, they will take a breathalyzer test. If you have been arrested for a DUI, it’s critical to contact a New Jersey DUI attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney like Leon Matchin will help guide you through the steps of a DUI case and defending your charge in court. Take some time to learn about DUIs in New Jersey and the potential consequences.
DUI vs. DWI
DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” while DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated.” In New Jersey, the two terms are used interchangeably and mean the same thing. Drivers who are under the influence of either alcohol or drugs can be charged with a DUI/DWI.
How Much is Too Much?
When it comes to knowing how much alcohol is too much, it’s a slippery slope. Each person is unique in how they process and metabolize alcohol in their body. It depends on many different factors, including body weight, gender, and genetics. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission defines one drink as 1 ½ ounces of 86 proof liquor, 12 ounces of beer, or a 5-ounce glass of wine. To be considered under the influence, a driver must have a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or higher. Remember, everyone’s body is different. While one person might be fine to drive after two beers, another person might not. To keep it safe, always make plans to have a designated driver if you plan to drink away from home.
Field Sobriety Test
So what happens if you have been drinking and driving and get pulled over? If the police officer suspects you are under the influence, they will conduct a field sobriety test. This test helps them determine whether or not you should be charged with a DUI. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides standardized field sobriety testing procedures police officers follow during a DUI stop. These procedures include the following tests: heel-to-toe walk and turn, one-leg-stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. The police officer will observe the driver during all three tests and then grade them using a rubric. In New Jersey, drivers must also take a breathalyzer test. Refusing to take the test will not make DUI penalties go away; in fact, it will bring on additional consequences.
First Offense vs. Subsequent Offenses
Consequences are based on whether the DUI charge is a first or subsequent offense.
First Offense (BAC higher than .08 but less than .01):
Fine of $250-$400, jail time of up to 30 days, ignition interlock device installed in car for three months, attend classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years.
First Offense (BAC higher than .10 but less than 0.15)
Fine of $300-$500, jail time of up to 30 days, ignition interlock device installed in car for seven months to one year, attend classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year of three years.
First Offense (BAC higher than 0.15)
Above penalties plus license suspension for 4-6 months followed by ignition interlock in the car for 9-15 months.
Fine of $500-$1,000, jail time between 48 hours and 90 days, 1-2 year license suspension, evaluation, referral, and program at Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, 30 days of community service, insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for 3 years, ignition interlock device installed in car for 2-4 years after license suspension period.
Fine of $1,000, jail time of 180 days or time spent in an inpatient rehab facility, eight-year license suspension, 30 days of community service, evaluation, referral, and program at Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, insurance surcharge of $1,500 per year for three years, ignition interlock device installed in car for 2-4 years after license suspension period.
Contact a New Jersey DUI Attorney
Now that you know more about what it means to be charged with a DUI, what do you do? The first step is to contact an experienced New Jersey DUI attorney like Leon Matchin. Leon will be able to go through your case and the circumstances surrounding your DUI charge to come up with potential defenses to be used in court. The goal is always to have charges dismissed or at least downgraded so that you can avoid some of the harsher penalties.
Getting a DUI charge can be extremely overwhelming. Whether it’s your first or subsequent offense, it’s essential to stay calm and immediately contact a New Jersey DUI attorney. An attorney like Leon Matchin will defend you in court to try and get charges dropped or downgraded. During his many years as an attorney, he has worked on numerous DUI cases and knows the ins and outs of creating a solid case and representing clients in court.
For more information about DUI charges, reach out to Leon Matchin. Contact Leon by phone at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected]. He will set up a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case and go over your options.