While nobody likes to contemplate their own drunk driving conviction, it is a fact that a percentage of defendants in DWI cases will be found guilty by the Court. Although this is not a desirable situation, there are necessary considerations that will come up following a conviction for driving while intoxicated. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, I and my team of experienced DWI-DUI defense attorneys are skilled in New Jersey DWI laws having represented numerous motorists who have been accused of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, prescription medication or controlled dangerous substances (CDS).
While we always strive to help our clients attain a not guilty verdict or to have a drunk driving case thrown out on procedural grounds, the fact remains that some people accused of drunken driving will indeed be found guilty and be subject to the penalties laid out by New Jersey’s DWI statutes. For anyone who wonders, sentencing following a DWI conviction can be found in N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. For those who have been found guilty there is no doubt that the monetary and other penalties can be rather harsh, especially for those of limited means or who need their vehicle daily to get to work, school or other activities.
Here in the Garden State, the severity of DWI sentencing can vary depending on whether the offense is that driver’s first, second, third or subsequent. As experienced trial attorneys skilled in the defense of individuals accused of both criminal and civil offenses, we are well acquainted with all issues concerning DWI and drug DUI sentencing. That said, we always remind potential clients that the attorneys on our legal team are frequently successful in getting reductions in penalties for some defendants who are fighting a drunken driving, breath test refusal or other alcohol- or drug-related charges
The legal professionals at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall work extremely hard to have charges reduced or dismissed whenever possible. We have achieved favorable sentences and dismissals for our clients in the past because we do not compromise when it comes to providing an aggressive defense for our clients. Certain members of our legal staff actually have training on the breathalyzer machines used by law enforcement, as well as that of the techniques used by police officers when administering the standardized field sobriety tests at roadside traffic stops.
When it comes to those times that sentencing is required, and penalties assessed, there are certain circumstances that can be aggravating in terms of the extent of those penalties. At times, an individual’s particular circumstances and those of his or her arrest, can actually serve to mitigate any penalties if that individual is actually found guilty of DWI or DUI. Of these, the following are key elements when the court decides what penalties or sentences to hand out:
Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC)
Because BAC is a measurable indication of the likelihood to commit another offense, judges are permitted to consider the results of breathalyzer devices when arriving at a sentence. For instance, an excessively high BAC reading is quite often considered an aggravating factor vis-à-vis sentencing a convicted drunken driver.
Should a motorist have a history of prior moving violations, a judge may take one or more of these prior offenses into consideration when weighing the extent of the DWI-related sentence. Courts typically look at a driver’s history of traffic infractions as a way to judge whether or not a motorist has demonstrated a disregard for New Jersey traffic laws.
Traffic Accident History
Often courts will also take note of whether the defendant has been involved in automobile accidents in the past. The incidence of injury-related accidents and the circumstances surrounding those events will also be something that a judge may use to weight his or her decision. Whether an accident involved injuries and/or property damage, and to what degree can be a factor when the court determines the defendant’s sentence following a drunken driving conviction. Please note that a victim who has been injured as a result of the defendant’s actions behind the wheel has a legal right to address the court prior to sentencing.
In addition to the previously mentioned factors, judges in DWI cases will also look at the defendant’s level of cooperation with the police at the time of the arrest, as well as his or her demeanor and comportment when being processed by the officer. Additionally, if a drunken driving incident involved significant or enhanced recklessness by exposing others, including the patrolman, to serious injury or possible death, the judge may well include this in his or her consideration of the sentence.
Of course, there are a wide range of circumstances that can precede or follow any number of drunken driving scenarios. The important point to take away from this message is that there is help out there in the way of free, no-obligation consultations from any number of qualified DWI-DUI defense attorneys. If you or someone you know has been accused of drunk driving our office is ready and willing to assist with your questions regarding New Jersey DWI arrests, convictions and sentencing.