A DWI conviction can drastically impact a person’s life, causing harm to the individual’s reputation and career prospects. Even if a person charged with DWI has compelling defenses, there is usually a risk that a trial could result in a guilty verdict. Thus, in some instances, it may be prudent for a person to plead guilty to a lesser offense. This was the path chosen recently by a basketball player at a New Jersey university who was faced with charges of DWI and other offenses and entered into a plea deal. If you are charged with a DWI offense, you may face significant penalties if you are convicted, and it is in your best interest to meet with a knowledgeable New Jersey DWI defense attorney to assess your options.
The Defendant’s Arrest and Plea
It is reported that the defendant, a basketball player for a New Jersey University, was stopped by a police officer for failing to stop at a stop sign. When the officer approached the vehicle, he observed that the defendant’s demeanor and smell suggested that he had been drinking alcohol. He submitted to field sobriety testing, which he failed. He was subsequently arrested and charged with DWI, reckless driving, and other traffic offenses. Several months after his arrest, he pleaded guilty to the reckless driving charge, and the DWI offense was dropped by the State. He was sentenced to pay a fine and lost his driver’s license for 60 days.
Penalties for DWI Convictions in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the penalties for a DWI crime vary depending on several factors, including the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, whether the defendant caused an accident or injured anyone during the commission of the offense, and whether he or she has prior DWI convictions. Generally, a person charged with a first time DUI with a BAC under 0.10% faces fines between $250 and $400, increased insurance rates, and the loss of his or her license for three months. A sentence for such an offense may also include jail time up to 30 days, an ignition interlock requirement for up to a year, and mandatory alcohol abuse classes. If the defendant’s BAC was 0.10% or higher, he or she faces stricter penalties, as do people charged with second or subsequent DWI offenses. Conversely, a person convicted of reckless driving typically results in fines and the temporary loss of a license. Continue reading