Getting arrested for any traffic charge can be a frustrating experience. But when you’re given a DUI charge, it’s even more of a headache. With hefty fines, license suspension, and potential jail time as penalties, having a strong defense for your case is imperative. Even with a successful conviction, a Milltown, NJ, DUI attorney can help reduce the punishments you’ll face. With the right approach, you can navigate your case with ease and fully understand what you need to do to move forward.
DUI Traffic Laws in NJ
New Jersey law dictates that a person is legally intoxicated if they have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over 0.08%. However, having a high BAC is not the only way one can be arrested for driving under the influence. DUIs are charged when a driver appears to be incapable of operating their vehicle in a safe manner due to alcohol or drugs in their system.
Drugs and alcohol, even in small amounts, can lower a driver’s reaction time, decrease their vision, dull their senses, and impair their judgment. All of this can lead to a dangerous driving environment. In many cases, a driver is pulled over and charged with a DUI for unsafe driving actions, such as swerving between lanes. Even if a Breathalyzer test comes back with a BAC under 0.08% (or even at 0%), a driver may still be charged with a DUI if their driving appears to be impaired by the influence of drugs or alcohol.
DUI Charge Defenses
Defending against a DUI charge is a complicated matter. Your Milltown, NJ, DUI attorney will examine all aspects of your case and create a detailed and effective defense strategy. Having penalties reduced or charges dropped altogether depends on the specifics of your situation and your lawyer’s capabilities in court.
Sometimes, a driver may be pulled over at a regular DUI checkpoint and charged with a DUI even if they weren’t actually under the influence. The miscalibration of the Breathalyzer test can often lead to false records that indicate a higher BAC than the actuality. Your DUI attorney will check that the Breathalyzer used during your arrest was properly calibrated and that the officer administering it had the proper training needed to ensure a proper reading. If either of these are off, you can use that in your defense.
Proof of Impairment
A police officer has to have a reason to pull you over while driving. Unless you were checked at a DUI checkpoint, the officer must give testimony that your driving was impaired before they pulled you over and administered the Breathalyzer test. If there was no reason to pull you over, then your lawyer could argue that your driving was not actually impaired, regardless of the results of any tests.
Similarly, the Breathalyzer test isn’t the only way to judge a person’s impairment in a DUI case. Many times, drivers will be asked to perform a balance test to see if their movement, vision, and balance are impaired. If a driver performs well on their test, it’s another sign that they were not impaired and that the officer did not have probable cause to arrest them. A DUI lawyer will be able to gather all the evidence and testimony needed to prove that, even with an elevated BAC, a driver was not actually impaired.
DUI laws are set to prevent accidents that lead to injury and death. However, some situations can create a need for illegal activities to avoid injury and death as well. Sometimes, extenuating circumstances may force an impaired driver to get behind the wheel in an emergency. For example, one might need to drive under the influence to get to a hospital or other medical center. The specific circumstances surrounding the incident aren’t likely to get the charges dropped altogether. However, they can reduce the penalties and give some leeway in court.
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Associated DUI Charges
A charge for driving under the influence by itself is daunting. But it’s not the only charge you could face for DUI-related laws. Additional penalties may apply. They depend on your driving record, other passengers in the car, and physical indications of drug or alcohol use.
If you are charged with a DUI and had a passenger under the age of 17 in the vehicle at the time, an additional disorderly persons offense can be added to your case. This charge adds up to six months on any license suspension time. It also requires up to five days of community service.
Driving on a Suspended License
If you were previously convicted of a DUI and had your license suspended, continuing to drive on that suspended license carries heavy penalties. Drivers convicted of driving on a suspended license due to DUI charges face a minimum of 10 days in prison. They can also face an additional one to two years added to their license suspension time. If you were in an accident that resulted in physical injury, there is a mandatory jail sentence of 45 days.
Open Container Laws
Driving with open containers in the passenger compartment is a violation of NJ traffic laws. Even if you are not under the influence, you can still face a $200 fine and up to 10 days of community service for having an open container in the passenger compartment.
Hire a Milltown, NJ, DUI Attorney Today
If you face a DUI charge, don’t face it alone. As an experienced and knowledgeable Milltown, NJ, DUI attorney, Leon Matchin is here to help you defend your case. With his help, you can fully understand the specifics of your charge. He can also help you build a strong defense for yourself. With the right strategy, you could have your penalties lessened or your charges dropped altogether. For help with your DUI case, call Attorney Matchin today at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected].