Articles Posted in First Offense DWI

Look at the headlines any day of the week and one can see the volume and frequency of drunken driving arrests here in the Garden State. Is it just us, or do we just have bad luck when it comes to being charged with driving under the influence? Probably a little of both, but one thing is for certain, in a state as densely populated as New Jersey, there is bound to be a large number of any legal offense, civil or criminal. As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we fully understand how almost any driver can become a statistic of law enforcement.

This is not to say that we condone drunk driving, but we do know that law of averages suggests a certain percentage of motorists accused of drinking and driving are not going to be convicted, whatever the reason. For those who may think it’s worth the gamble, we would be inclined to dissuade those individuals of any notion that they can drink any alcoholic beverage and get away with it. Too many people have seemed to make a career of being arrested for DWI or drug DUI, and the results are not usually good.

For one, the penalties for repeat offenders can certainly add up. And this doesn’t include the car insurance premium increases mandated by law for first- second- and multiple-time offenders who are convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by liquor or prescription drugs. Never mind the associated penalties and related costs for individuals who are arrested, charged and convicted of impaired driving by a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), such as meth, cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs.
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As New Jersey DWI and drug DUI defense lawyers, we know that many people arrested for drunk driving are surprised, or at the very least shocked that they may be facing thousands of dollars in fines, penalties and assessments if they are found guilty of DWI in a court of law. A percentage of drunk driving and drug DUI arrests are made at sobriety checkpoints set up from time to time all around the Garden State. Other people can find themselves on the wrong side of the law following a simple traffic infraction, which then turns into a full-blown drunk driving arrest and a trip to the local police department for a breath test.

The point we would like to make is that whether one believes that there is too much or too little focus on DWI offenders, the law is specific that no one can legally drive in New Jersey with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. (Of course, holders of commercial driver’s licenses, also known as CDLs, have an even lower BAC to which they must adhere.) The gist of this conversation is that state and local law enforcement officer are motivated to keep drunken drivers off the roads.

Certain campaigns, locally and nationally, are also used to keep a high level of enforcement, as well as attempt to educate the public to the dangers of DWI and drug DUI (including doctor-prescribed medications and illicit drugs like cocaine and marijuana). One such campaign that has been used in the Garden State is the HERO anti-DUI campaign, which this year was expanded to include the Jersey Shore.
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While the New Jersey’s state police and local PDs run pretty heavy drunken driving patrols from time to time, here in New Jersey the laws on drunken driving treat a DWI as a vehicle violation or civil offense. Unlike other surrounding states, our has yet to criminalize the mere act of driving while intoxicated. Of course, things can get much more involved when property damage or personal injuries are involved, so there is a fine line that a DWI or drug DUI defendant must be aware of.

As New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyers, I and my team of experienced defense attorneys know full well that an arrest for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence is not the same as a conviction. When it comes being convicted of DWI, it would appear that a significant percentage of the public would prefer that even a first-time offender face the same penalties as any criminal. Others feel that lumping convicted DWI offenders in with common criminals is perhaps excessive.

A non-scientific poll conducted by the editors of illustrated the divide between those who would criminalize drunken driving offenses and those who feel drivers need at least some leeway, especially when it comes to first-time offenses. Naturally, many people are swayed by the headlines of hundreds and even thousands of innocent people killed by drunken drivers across the nation every year. And as of last May, New Jersey lawmakers have begun to look into the possibility of creating legislation to keep those arrested for repeat DWI off the road at least until their case is heard in a court of law.
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Even if a victim doesn’t press charges or initiate a personal injury lawsuit against another person who may or may not be negligent in causing a car accident, local police and municipal courts are not likely to feel much sympathy for any motorist who causes an injury accident while allegedly driving drunk in the Garden State. As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, I and my legal staff know how strict the law can be when prosecutors build a case against an alleged drunk driver.

New Jersey law doesn’t allow much wiggle room for individuals who are found guilty of DWI or drug DUI, not to mention breath test refusal and other DWI- and DUI-related offenses. Monetary penalties aside, one should always be concerned about the future of his or her driver’s license, as well as employment or chances for advancement. The potential social stigma of a DWI conviction can also put the brakes on a marital relationship, not to mention one’s standing in the community. All in all, being convicted for a drunken driving collision that also resulted in injuries or, worse, fatalities, can spell the end to a normal life.

We were reminded of this type of scenario not long ago when we ran across a news article detailing the events leading up to a car accident in Teaneck, NJ. According to news reports, the sister of an alleged drunken driver was seriously injured in a car crash earlier this past spring. Police indicated that up to the car crash that injured one of his relatives, the 27-year-old New Milford resident had apparently lost his license through suspension on almost two dozen separate occasions.
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Understanding the processes and steps that take place during a drunk driving traffic stop can sometimes serve to prepare certain people who may find themselves in similar situations in the future. When it comes to a DWI arrest, not to mention a possible future conviction, understanding the order of things can help in putting the entire drunken driving arrest, prosecution and conviction process in perspective.

Of course, no one ever wants to be stopped and arrested by a municipal police officer or state trooper for driving under the influence of alcohol, but the possibility does indeed exist. And, as no reasonable person would welcome the scenario where he or she is slapped with extensive monetary penalties following a drunk driving conviction, one would have to believe that avoiding such an incident would be all the more preferable to being convicted of DWI and having that mark on one’s record for years to come.

Still, there always exists the chance for a drunk driving arrest, especially if one has had a drink or two before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. This possibility is real and exists for any driver who may have even a little bit of alcohol prior to being stopped for some other traffic offense, such as running a red light or making an illegal turn. DWI arrests can precipitate from some of the most innocuous traffic offenses.
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Now that summer is practically here, youngsters all over the Garden State — from junior high to high school will surely be hitting the malls, the seaside and local gathering spots to celebrate yet another school year ended. This is all well and good, but parents of some teens know all too well that new-found freedom for some is an invitation to misbehave for others.

Mothers and fathers across New Jersey, and elsewhere around the nation, understand how the start of summer can offer up new opportunities for some teens and underage drivers to experiment with alcohol, not to mention marijuana and other narcotic substances.

While some say that teen drinking is part and parcel of the coming-of-age experience, the state of New Jersey has strict rules on its law books that prohibit underage drinking, not to mention simply the possession of alcohol by a minor. As a New Jersey DWI lawyer, I and my legal staff (including a team of highly experienced drunken driving defense attorneys) know all too well that kids, like adults, can find themselves in certain situations that lead inevitably to an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription medications (drug DUI).
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As if otherwise law-abiding citizens didn’t already have enough to worry about if they are arrested for driving while intoxicated now motorists can face being strip-searched as well. We’ve spoken on numerous occasions how a drunk driving arrest — or worse, a conviction — has the potential for personal humiliation in the local community, at one’s job and even within one’s own family. Personal relationships, careers, and reputations have been ruined as a result of a DWI or drug-related DUI.

But the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court last month has opened up new possibilities for individuals arrested and incarcerated following a drunken driving arrest. While some may laugh, could it be such a stretch to imagine an average citizen, perhaps coming home from an evening get-together at the local bar with colleagues and friends, ending up arrested for drunk driving and ultimately being strip-searched prior to spending a night in the local jail? All we can say is, The truth can certainly be stranger than fiction.

Of course, we wouldn’t even be talking about this potentially embarrassing scenario if it wasn’t for the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that anyone in police custody can be strip-searched without, apparently, violating their constitutional rights. As New Jersey DUI defense lawyers, we have said for years that the stiff monetary penalties defendants face in the wake of a DWI conviction are just one aspect of the entire drunken driving arrest scenario. Now drivers have even more to worry about if they have had a little too much to drink.
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No matter where one lives or works in the Garden State, it would be fair to say that nobody is quite prepared for a DWI arrest, whenever it comes. Just because New Jersey law enforcement officers are always watching for traffic violators, doesn’t necessarily mean that every driver in New Jersey has a legal preparedness folder in his or her glove compartment.

The aforementioned thoughts may seem a bit tongue-in-check, but the sentiment is valid. As DWI defense lawyers serving New Jersey motorists, I and my legal staff are all to aware of the alarming frequency of drunk driving and drug DUI arrests that take place every week all across the state. While one may not have a legal action plan fully in place, it’s wise to know, at least, that you should seek the legal guidance of a qualified DWI-DUI attorney in the event of a traffic stop that precipitates charges of driving while intoxicated.

Whether one’s case involves being impaired through the consumption of wine, beer or hard liquor; or if the taking of doctor-prescribed prescription medication resulted in a motorist being charged with impairment due to narcotic substances, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced legal defense attorney to better understand one’s options prior to stepping foot inside a courtroom.
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Being stopped by a police officer as a teenage driver can be a harrowing experience. And while inexperienced drivers can be expected to make a driving error from time to time, doing so while being drunk can mean big troubles now and in the future. Not only is underage DWI a chargeable offense in the Garden State, simply drinking or even possessing alcohol as a teenager or underage adult is grounds for an arrest.

As New Jersey DWI defense attorneys, we understand that an underage DWI, DUI or breath-test refusal is no way to begin one’s foray into adulthood. As we have said on numerous other occasions, being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription medication (drug DUI) is a serious enough offense without compounding it by being a teen. Parents take note, since most youngsters do not always realize the potentially injurious nature that a DWI conviction can mean to one in the future.

Without a doubt, it is always safer to consult with a qualified DWI lawyer to best understand the impact that any drunken driving conviction can have; in many respects, an underage DWI, DUI or refusal conviction can have even a greater impact than if the defendant was of age and caught for drunken driving for the first time. Suffice it to say that a conviction for DWI is just no way to start out one’s adult life.
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Whether one is driving home from a family get-together, after-hours office party at a local restaurant, or just having a night out with friends, a traffic stop could end up costing you big if the police believe that you may have been drinking and driving. Not only do state and local police here in the Garden State have an extremely low tolerance for drivers who operate their cars while impaired by alcohol or drugs, our DWI laws make a drunk driving conviction less than appealing as well.

And being famous, well-known or even infamous will not typically get someone any special dispensation. The law is the law; sports figures, public servants, business executives, even TV personalities and movie stars can get themselves caught up in a New Jersey drunk driving arrest as quickly as anyone else.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, I and my experienced drunk driving defense team have the skills and training to represent individuals accused of driving while intoxicated, as well as driving under the influence of controlled dangerous substances (CDSs), such as prescription medications, marijuana, and even cocaine. The latter of these are known collectively as drug DUI offenses.
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