Facing Drunk Driving or Drug DUI Charges? Consider the Long-Term Effects of a Possible Conviction

Although the majority of drivers here in New Jersey are likely aware of the more immediate effects of a drunken driving arrest and conviction — such as license suspension, fines, insurance premium assessments and even jail time — fewer people have considered the longer-term effects of a DWI-DUI. As Garden State trial lawyers and experts in the area of drunken driving defense, my legal team is well aware of the often more serious, and possibly life-altering effects of a DWI or drug DUI conviction.

While the average motorist would not likely consider who critical his or her driver’s license is to daily life, those with jobs that require the ability to drive, not just to and from work, but drive a vehicle during the course of their work day. For those individuals who rely on their personal driver’s license (not to mention a commercial driver’s license, or CDL) to make a living, there could be very dire consequences should they be arrested for drunken driving or drug-impaired vehicle operation.

For anyone whose job involves driving, the thought of losing one’s job may only come to the fore when he or she sees the flashing lights of a police cruiser in the rearview mirror. The fact is, when all is going well, most people never take into account the downside of a drunk driving arrest. But as the inevitable hearing date draws nearer, it often becomes more and more evident that the services of an experienced DWI-DUI defense attorney may be needed.

Having worked as professional trial lawyers handling drunk driving and other DUI- DWI-related cases, the legal staff at my law firm understands the extreme trepidation that can gradually arise, reaching a crescendo level, when it looks like the state may end up winning the day by the defendant surrendering his or her driver’s license for months on end. Especially for professional drivers holding a government-issued CDL, the net effect of a drunken driving conviction can spell disaster in the near-term, with often dim prospects for future employment.

Even for those who can manage to get around sans license for a period of time, the pain of a DWI conviction is not over once one’s license is restored. Statutory assessments to an individual’s auto insurance premiums can put a serious dent in some people’s pocketbook. In addition, there is always the distinct possibility that the court will order that an ignition interlock device be installed on the defendant’s vehicle for a period of time.

For many convicted drunken drivers, the number of insurance points received as a result of a DWI-DUI conviction may push you over into the category of “high-risk driver.” This can often mean that your current automobile insurance company may cancel your policy or require you to pay additional fees for a new policy.

For reference, NJ-PAIP insurance is the assigned risk mechanism for drivers unable to obtain coverage in the voluntary New Jersey automobile insurance market. Specifically, NJ-PAIP was created in response to N.J.S.A. 17:29D-1 and implemented by N.J.A.C. 11:3-2.1. For those unfamiliar with this type of insurance, NJ-PAIP is helps New Jersey residents who have automobile insurance risks that make them ineligible for personal New Jersey car insurance from preferred Garden State insurance carriers.

A final note: some DWI convictions (and even DWI arrests) can greatly impact one’s personal life. For individuals accused and/or convicted of drunken, intoxicated or impaired driving, there may be complications arising between one’s spouse and other family members or friends. People who have been charged with drug DUI may find that their neighbors, colleagues and business associates quickly lose trust in their ability to make responsible decisions or smart choices. This can lead to an emotional rollercoaster alternating between uncertainty in ones abilities and embarrassment over the events that led to the conviction on DWI-DUI charges.

As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, we must repeat that the best way to avoid the long-term effects of a drunk driving or drug DUI conviction is simply not to drink and drive. While this may sound simplistic, it is usually true and not meant to be sarcastic in any way. However, if you have already been accused of drunken driving, it may be the better part of valor to contact a skilled DWI-DUI attorney to learn about your rights under the laws of this state, and to better understand your options going forward.