As Bergen, Ocean and Monmouth County attorneys who represent motorists accused of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or prescription drugs, we can heartily say that there are potentially harsh consequences for individuals convicted of multiple times for drunken driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of prescription medicine or even illegal substances, such as marijuana and cocaine.
There is a strong argument for mounting a compelling defense for first-time DWI and DUI charges, if only because subsequent arrests and convictions present an even more costly and potentially life-altering consequences. Even so, second- and third-time offenders may still ask themselves the question, “Why do I need a drunk driving lawyer?”
When it comes to multiple convictions for driving while intoxicated, the impact on one’s lifestyle and relationships may be greatly affected. It’s no secret that second, third and subsequent DWI convictions can result in far more serious consequences than that of one’s first-time offense.
For one, timing may actually be an asset to the repeat offender. If an individual’s first DWI charge had yet to be resolved when he or she was stopped a second time by police, a judge may be willing to allow possible multiple sentences (including periods of license suspension) to run concurrently, rather than consecutively.
If the court is considering an out-of-state DWI charge as the basis for a driver’s second offense in New Jersey, it is important to understand that A DWI, DUI, OUI or OWI from another state may not automatically raise a driver’s current New Jersey drunk driving offense to the level of a multiple DWIs. It has been know that an attorney may argue that any discrepancies between New Jersey law and the other state, which may mean that a person could still be sentenced as a first-time offender in New Jersey and receive the corresponding first-time DWI penalties for that initial New Jersey arrest.
One thing to keep in mind is whether or not prior conviction was for an actual DWI or if it was for refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test. Under New Jersey law, if a driver has been charged with refusal and then subsequently receive charges for a DWI, the court must classify that individual as a first-time offender, with corresponding first offender penalties.
However, if a motorist has had a previous drunken driving conviction and she is then subsequently charged with refusal to submit to breath test, then that person can be categorized under the law as a second-time offender. This can significantly affect the penalties that the court may levy against that defendant, which can then greatly affect driver’s license suspension and other penalties and fines.
These are just a few of the potentially serious effects of a second, third or subsequent DWI arrest and or conviction awaiting drivers unlucky enough to be caught operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol multiple times in New Jersey.