Whether you live or work in Ocean, Sussex, Bergen or Union County, it’s likely that nobody expects to be pulled over by police and arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. Here in Monmouth County, as in the rest of the Garden State, I and my staff of experienced DWI defense attorneys fully understand the anxiety and trepidation that follows a drunken driving or drug DUI police stop.
For first-time drunk driving arrestees, and even those picked up for driving under the influence of prescription medication or illicit drugs such as marijuana, the experience can be a shock. But more than that, not taking action and leaving one’s fate in the hands of the court is something that no one should allow to happen, if they can help it.
Of course, second and third-time offenders have a different set of circumstances to deal with, but in general, we always recommend that motorists consult with a qualified DWI lawyer. The reason is simple: being cited for impaired driving — whether allegedly due consumption of beer, wine or hard liquor; prescription pain medication or a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) — is nothing to be taken lightly.
Careers, marriages, and reputations have been ruined by drunken driving and DUI convictions. Of course, being arrested for driving while intoxicated can happen night or day. It usually, but not always, happens with a seemingly routine police stop for a supposedly minor traffic infraction — something as insignificant as a faulty taillamp. Other times it can come at the location of a drunk driving roadblock (also known as a sobriety checkpoint).
Regardless of the circumstances, once charged with a DWI one should as a matter of course contact a DWI-DUI defense attorney. My office has handled enough DWI cases and spoken with so many people charged with DWI or DUI that we know it’s not a wise idea to represent yourself in front of the court. Not only can the process of fighting a DWI arrest be confusing to the first-time defendant, there is no way that a layperson can come fully prepared to face the court – at least, not like one can with a qualified DWI defense lawyer at one’s side.
First and foremost, it should be remembered that under New Jersey statutes, a blood-alcohol content (BAC) measurement of 0.08 percent or more qualifies a motorist as legally drunk and able to be charged with driving while intoxicated. This is not to say that breathalyzer devices, such as the Alcotest machine, are infallible (they are not), but as experienced drunk driving attorneys, I and my colleagues understand how these machines work and what kinds of problems can result when using them.
Being convicted of a DWI can mean stiff fines, loss of one’s driver’s license and even some jail time, depending on the circumstances. Not only does the stigma of a DWI or DUI conviction haunt some people, license suspension and other punishments can make getting to and from work very complicated, as well as put strains on family life. For those commercial truck drivers and chauffeurs, a DWI conviction can mean permanent loss of a job and even exclusion from one’s chosen career.
Since the stakes are so high as to cause a loss of lifestyle and livelihood, we always suggest that people retain a DWI attorney, who will be able work in your favor without letting emotion rule the day. Some questions that a lawyer might ask you following DWI arrest could include:
— Was the patrolman justified in pulling you over to begin with? If not, then some or even all of the evidence gathered during the DWI arrest might be ruled as inadmissible by the court
— Did the officer correctly administer any field sobriety tests?
— If you submitted to breath test, was the device correctly calibrated and adequately maintained?
— Finally, was the policeman properly trained in the use of the breathalyzer and was he certified to administer the breath test?
Our best suggestion to almost anyone accused of drunken driving or drug DUI is don’t risk your future on the belief that you can get through it by yourself. Working with a qualified legal professional is one of the best approaches to a DWI defense when so much of one’s future hangs in the balance.