Articles Posted in First Offense DWI

There are many reasons people come up with to avoid retaining a New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer. Some believe they can effectively represent themselves during a DWI or drug DUI hearing, while others simple want to avoid paying anyone to speak for them regardless of how much experience the attorney may have. Quite frankly, here in the Garden State we have seen some very aggressive prosecutors who press hard for a drunk driving conviction.

As a former municipal prosecutor myself, I and my colleagues understand the strategies employed by the state’s attorneys. In addition to knowing the New Jersey DWI and drug DUI statutes, I and my staff also have decades of trial experience under our collective belts. It is unlikely that the average motorist who finds himself caught up in a drunk driving case has the experience and know-how to effective argue his case in front of a judge.

That said, we understand that many people may not have the money to retain a qualified DWI lawyer, but many people do not think things through to their logical end. One might be able to save on attorneys fees, but in the possible event that the defendant losses his case and ends up being convicted of DWI or DUI, the savings on legal fees can easily be offset by the potential monetary penalties totaling thousands of dollars in fines, court fees and mandatory increases in the convicted driver’s auto insurance premiums.
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As a former municipal prosecuting attorney and now drunk driving defense lawyer for motorists accused of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, prescription meds or illegal drugs, I have seen my fair share of court cases involving all manner of charges, witnesses, evidence and other relevant details. Although times have changed, to be sure, the way in which these DWI and drug DUI arrests remain fairly consistent. They usually occur following a driving error on the part of the accused drunken driver.

What has changed is the way in which information is shared between police departments, their municipalities, the states in which they reside. Decades ago, for instance, before the information superhighway, traffic offenders in one state were not always known to the police in surrounding or more distant states. But with the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web, databases filled with conviction and arrest data can be readily available to law enforcement agencies here in New Jersey and elsewhere.

How might affect a driver who has been arrested or charged with a moving violation in another state? Take for instance a motorist who was perhaps arrested for DWI in an adjoining state. It is true that a conviction for drunken driving, drug DUI or even breath test refusal outside of New Jersey can indeed have the same effect on a person later on as being convicted here in a Garden State courtroom.
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Over the many years that my legal firm has been helping motorists accused of drunken driving, I and my associates have been asked more than a few times, “Why do I need a DWI lawyer when I step into a courtroom on a charge of driving while intoxicated?” The simple answer would be, “Because you owe it to yourself to be fully prepared to face the prosecution, which will do its best to prove you guilty of DWI or drug DUI.” But this is only one basic reason.

It’s not a secret that drivers in the Garden State face a tough situation when they are stopped on the highway after having a drink or two. It’s a mistake to assume that heavy drinkers and so-called “party animals” are the only people to be arrested for drunken driving by state or local police. For many, a simple drive home after dinner with friends can sometimes lead to a traffic stop, possibly for some basic moving violation, only to escalate into a full-blown DWI arrest and a trip to police headquarters.

As drunk driving defense attorneys, I and my team of experienced trial lawyers are fully up to the task of representing individuals who have been accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor, beer, or doctor-prescribed medication. We know how scary a drunk driving arrest can be for normally law-abiding citizens. But the truly frightening thing about being arrested is that a conviction can result in serious and expensive consequences.
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The New Jersey State Senate recently set in motion a bill that if made into law would require any DWI offender — even first-timers — to have an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle as a mandatory condition of their sentencing. According to news articles the new legislation, if passed, would amend the state’s DWI laws to include wording requiring all convicted drunken driving offenders to have an ignition interlock installed in their cars for varying lengths of time.

As New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyers, my colleagues and I have worked for many years helping motorists who have been charged with DWI- and DUI-related offenses. We understand how a single indiscretion can lead to an expensive, inconvenient, embarrassing and often life-changing drunken driving conviction. In fact, numerous personal and professional relationships have been damaged or outright ruined as the result of a conviction for operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, doctor-prescribed medicines, or even an illicit (read: a controlled dangerous substance [CDS]) drug like marijuana or cocaine.

Having worked in this field for many years, both as a defense lawyer and as a municipal prosecuting attorney, I have a deep understanding of the strategies and tactics that the attorneys for the state employ to secure a conviction. My goal, and that of my legal team, is to provide the best possible defense for those individuals who believe that they have been falsely accused of drunken driving, drug DUI or breath test refusal. Whatever the cause of the DWI-DUI charges, a qualified DWI defense lawyer must consider all the facts in order to help his or her client achieve a just outcome.
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Most people already understand that being arrested for drunk driving here in the Garden State is hardly a walk in the park. Besides the legal issues, just the mere fact that one has been picked up for drinking and driving can cause problems professionally, as well as personally. Once all the embarrassment has passed, then there’s the worry about penalties if one is convicted of DWI or drug DUI.

As DWI defense attorneys, the legal experts at the law offices of Jonathan F. Marshall understand the pitfalls of self-representation when a drunken driving charge is looming. At the very least, it’s wise to consult with an experienced trial lawyer who knows the ins and outs of New Jersey’s DWI law. Considering the potentially expensive and long-lasting effects of a drunken driving conviction, retaining a qualified legal professional to represent you can be a good way to fight a DWI-DUI charge from the get-go.

Seriously, one should always consider the possible downside to losing a drunk driving case. Most anyone who has been accused of drunk driving knows what’s at stake. If found guilty, a defendant can be looking at a wide range of penalties — anywhere from $250 to $1,000 in monetary fines and even possible incarceration (which can range from “just” two days in jail all the way up to six months). Of course, when it comes to a DWI charge, the main factor in determining sentencing is whether or not the offense was a first-, second-, or third-time offense (for anyone who may be wondering, we have seen individuals who have exceeded three DWI offenses in their lifetime).
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No one is perfect, though we all hope that certain professionals are as close to representing a particular ideal as is humanly possible. That said, we would never suggest that the actions of any one individual would necessarily represent the thoughts, actions or mindset of an entire group of people or a particular organization. However, it is instructive from time to time to understand that certain behaviors do exist, even in those within organizations dedicated to maintaining the public good or the personal safety of American citizens.

As New Jersey DWI-DUI defense lawyers, my firm constantly works in the interests of its clients, many of whom have been accused of committing any number of traffic-related violations, not the least of which is driving while intoxicated. The mere suggestion that a law enforcement officer may have been predisposed to arresting a motorist for driving under the influence even before stopping that driver and interviewing him face-to-face would make most police officials cry foul. But, as human beings are not always perfect, one can only reason that in the history of traffic-related arrests, a certain percentage of cases, however small, may have been motivated more by a hunch than by any specific fact.

We bring this up if only because of a recent news item that may get some people thinking about the supposed motivations of some individuals in law enforcement. Again, we are not suggesting that any one officer in any particular police department is following the same course as the subject of this latest news story, but only that the possibility exists. As experienced trial lawyers and drunk driving defense attorneys, our only suggestion to those accused of DWI or drug DUI, make a point to consult with a qualified legal professional experienced in New Jersey drunk driving law BEFORE you walk into a courtroom to plead your DWI case.
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There’s little defense for poor decisions made in haste. Whether that applies to being pulled over for a minor traffic infraction, leading to a DWI or drug DUI summons; or if its making the wrong choices heading into a court hearing on a charge of driving while intoxicated, a poor decision in either instance can lead to license suspension, steep fines and penalties and even the loss of one’s job or standing in the community.

Regardless of the circumstances, never assume that a qualified DWI defense attorney is not worth talking to, at the very least to more completely understand your rights as well as the possible outcomes of a DWI or DUI case. As a defendant, knowledge is power. An experienced drunken driving lawyer has the skills and knowledge it takes to negotiate legally in a courtroom setting.

The loss of one’s driving privileges is nothing to ignore, especially if you absolutely need a car to get to work or school. The loss of mobility can not only be a burden on family and friends, who may be asked to help get a convicted drunk driver here and there, but it can affect one’s ability to find a job or even to hold on to one. Before walking into a courtroom unprepared for the consequences, consider a consultation with a qualified legal professional well versed in drunk driving law.
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Throw another Yule log on the fire and pour a bit more holiday cheer, but be very careful not to celebrate and drive all in the same timeframe. Here in the Garden State, like many areas around the country at this time of the year, the period from Thanksgiving through New Years’ Eve can see increases in police anti-drunken driving patrols, as well as roadside sobriety checkpoints
We all know the dangers of drunk driving, driving while intoxicated and operating a motor vehicle while impaired by doctor-prescribed medications, so let’s just say that staying sober on the road this holiday season is the best defense against a DWI arrest or a drug DUI summons. As New Jersey drunken driving defense attorneys, it’s our experience that helps people accused of driving under the influence of beer, wine, hard liquor and even illegal substances, such as cocaine and marijuana. New Jersey drivers themselves can do themselves a big favor by finding a sober ride home if they’ve had too much to drink at a family get-together, holiday open house or seasonal office party.

As many people already know, state police and municipal law enforcement departments are constantly on the alert for drivers who break the law by drinking and driving. And while a DWI arrest rarely begins with an officer assuming a driver is drunk behind the wheel of his or her automobile, the results of many holiday traffic violations can end up with a motorist being arrested and charged with DWI or DUI, not to mention other moving violations. We won’t even mention those arrests that come after a roadway collision that may or may not have been the result of driving drunk.
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As we’ve stated previously, those who follow the news, here in New Jersey, know that drunk driving arrests are pretty much a part of the automotive landscape. Considering the various scenarios that can result in a motorist being arrested, charged and tried for operating their car or truck while under the influence of alcohol or doctor-prescribed medication (drug DUI), we as DWI defense lawyers understand how seemingly law-abiding citizens can find themselves in a courtroom trying to explain how they never realized they were drunk in the first place. It’s not an easy road.

For every driver who is stopped for an apparently minor traffic violation there is always the chance that he or she may be served with a summons for drunken driving. These encounters with state and local police are just a precursor to that inevitable appearance before a municipal or county judge. To expect leniency is piling hope upon hope, which rarely works in the real world of DWI law. If nothing else, the years of anti-DWI messages and physical enforcement should tell anyone accused of driving while intoxicated that the police and the courts hold a very dim view of individual whom they believe are DWI offenders.

Whether one is charged with impairment based on consuming alcohol, prescription drugs or even illegal substances such as cocaine, meth or marijuana, the course should be clear; walking into a courtroom unprepared is not a strategy for success. At the very minimum, one should consult with a qualified DWI/DUI defense attorney to better understand the situation and options going forward.
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Anyone who follows the local news in the Garden State is not a stranger to the literally dozens of DWI arrests that occur every week across the state. As defense attorneys who specialize in drunken driving and drug DUI cases, we know how an otherwise law-abiding citizen can be caught up in a DWI following a night out with friends or after a romantic evening at a nice restaurant. Nobody expects, or welcomes, a drunk driving summons, much less a night spent in a county or municipal jail, but unfortunately it happens all the time.

If one considers the many and varied scenarios that can ultimately lead to a court appearance for driving while intoxicated, there is always a chance that a drive may be pulled over for violating even the most minor traffic law and then find himself being tested for blood-alcohol content (BAC) or drug use. If decades anti-drunken driving campaigns have taught us anything, it is that the courts, law enforcement and the public at large have next to no tolerance for any driver who operates his or her vehicle while impaired due to alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine.

Under current state law, a person convicted of their first drunk driving offense MAY be required by the court to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle in order to prevent a driver from starting his or her car if their BAC is over 0.05 percent. However, if that first DWI conviction was based on a proven BAC of 0.15 percent or more, then the law mandates installation of an IID during the period of license suspension as well as 6-12 months following restoration of their driving privileges. On a second or third conviction for a drunken driving offense the same applies, except that the device must remain installed from one to three years following restoration of that individual’s driver’s license.
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