In New Jersey, a DUI is considered a serious traffic violation with significant penalties. The process begins when police pull over a driver under suspicion of driving drunk, or for an unrelated traffic violation. The officer will conduct a series of field sobriety tests, which may include a portable breath-testing device. If a driver is found to have ingested alcoholic drinks that resulted in a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, they will be taken into custody. The same applies to drivers who may be under the influence of illegal drugs.
At the police station, the driver will be asked to submit to the Draeger Alcotest ®, which is a stationary breath analyzing system. Drivers who refuse to submit to the breath test will have their licenses revoked. Because a DUI per se is not a felony but a traffic violation, drivers will usually be released from the police station unless they are also being charged with another criminal offense such as personal or property injury or drug possession. Their vehicle will be apprehended and impounded for 12 hours and can be retrieved after that period.
Upon release from the police station, the driver will be given a DUI violation ticket and any other violations observed by the officer, such as speeding or careless driving. The ticket will have a specific court date written on it, and the driver is required to appear on that date. This is when charges will be arraigned and explained to the accused driver. At this stage, it is highly recommended that the driver gets a DUI attorney involved. A criminal defense attorney in Jersey City can advise on how to plea and catch critical mistakes made by law enforcement during the arrest, which might help the case in favor of the accused driver.
At the time of arraignment, the driver may plead guilty or not guilty to the charges. If they plead guilty, the judge may issue a sentence and punishment on the same occasion. First-time DUI penalties vary depending on the percentage of alcohol found in the driver’s breath test. Those penalties may include fines and mandatory use of an IID device, plus temporary license suspension for those with a BAC of 0.15% or greater.
If you have been charged with a DUI in New Jersey, our firm is ready to help you protect your rights and work to reduce the penalties associated with your charges. We will examine the evidence and analyze every detail from the moment you were pulled over and build a case to help you get a more favorable outcome. Call us as soon as possible at 201-798-4024 to get started.