Answers To Common Questions About DUI Charges
Being stopped for a DUI can be frightening. Drivers often get pulled over for drunk driving on the New Jersey Turnpike or on roads in Egg Harbor Township, or elsewhere in Atlantic County. The DUI arrest process itself is a whirlwind of field sobriety testing, breath or blood testing to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and possibly a trip to the nearest police station to be booked on intoxicated driving charges.
If this happens to you, I can help. I am Michael F. Myers, founder of the Law Office of Michael F. Myers. I have practiced as a DUI lawyer in South Jersey for nearly a decade. I understand the technical aspects of DUI charges and can examine your case to see if law enforcement made a mistake or if other circumstances warrant your charges being dismissed or reduced. Because DUI charges can carry harsh consequences, I have drafted answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) I receive related to driving under the influence.
DUI FAQ: The Basics
Are DUI and DWI different crimes in New Jersey?
No. Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are considered the same charge in New Jersey.
What are the penalties for a first-time DUI?
If you are a driver who is over age 21 and your BAC is measured at .08 to .10 percent, you may receive the following as your sentence:
- A fine of up to $400, plus many other fees and mandatory contributions to various state funds
- A three-month suspension of your driver’s license
- Attendance at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program
- Jail time of up to 30 days
- A $1,000 surcharge on your auto insurance premiums for three years
Very few first-time DUI convictions actually result in jail time, but that alone may be reason enough to consider hiring a DUI attorney to defend you.
Can I get a restricted driver’s license to drive to work or school if I’m convicted of DUI?
No. New Jersey does not have a restricted driver’s license program. If you drive during your suspension period, you can be charged with driving on a suspended license. Additionally, when your suspension period ends, you must pay a fee of $100 to restore your license.
Will I go to jail if I’m convicted of a DUI?
It is rare for a first-time DUI defendant to serve jail time, but if you are convicted a second or third time, you can be sentenced to 90 or 180 days in jail, respectively. Third-time DUI convictions may direct the individual to serve half of their sentence in an in-patient drug treatment facility.
Will my DUI go on my permanent criminal record?
No, it does not. DUI convictions are considered by the state of New Jersey to be traffic offenses. However, they are the most serious traffic offense on the books. An employer or other authority checking your record will not find it on your criminal history, but your conviction will be visible on your New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission driver’s abstract permanently. There is no method for removing it from your abstract, no matter how long ago the DUI sentence was served.
Why should I hire a DUI lawyer to handle my defense?
While many people do not hire an attorney to help them with DUI charges, that is usually a mistake. The stakes are too high to try to face the charges alone. A DUI lawyer can help you:
- Examine the DUI stop, the field sobriety tests and the breath or blood tests, seeing if the police acted improperly
- Advise you of your rights during questioning (you do not have to answer questions without a lawyer present)
- Discuss the circumstances of the case with the prosecutor and determine if you qualify for a dropped case or reduced sentence
- Explain the state’s complex DUI laws to you and help you understand the best strategies for your case
Call My Office And Receive Help 24/7
If you need an experienced DWI lawyer right away, call my office in Northfield at 609-622-5735 or use the online contact form on this website. That first consultation is free. Do not delay – you do not have to plead guilty to a DUI without a fight, but you need an attorney by your side to have a strong chance of winning your case.