It happened. You went out, you had a few drinks (or more), and you made the bad decision to try to drive home. The police pulled you over, and now you are facing a DUI charge in New Jersey state court. What do you need to know? What do you need to do? What are the potential consequences if you get convicted? If you were arrested for DUI after a college party, here are some key facts you need to know:
7 Key Facts About Facing a First-Time DUI Charge in New Jersey
1. New Jersey has a “Zero Tolerance” Law for Drivers Under Age 21.
New Jersey has a “zero tolerance” law for drivers under the age of 21. Additionally, under New Jersey’s DUI statute, it is not necessary to blow .08 in order to be convicted of driving under the influence. As a result, if you had any alcohol in your system, you could be at risk for conviction.
2. New Jersey Also has an “Implied Consent” Law.
When the police pull you over on suspicion of DUI, you are required to submit to a breath test (subject to only limited exceptions). This requirement is imposed by New Jersey’s “implied consent” law. If you refused a breath test, you could be convicted of a DUI refusal even if you are not ultimately found guilty of DUI.
3. The Penalties for a First-Time DUI in New Jersey are Severe.
Even for a first-time offense, the penalties for DUI in New Jersey are severe. Standard penalties include fines, insurance surcharges, a three-month driver’s license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device and up to a year in jail.
4. A DUI Conviction Could Affect Your College Enrollment.
If you get convicted in court, your DUI could affect your college enrollment. You will likely need to go before judicial affairs, and you could face academic penalties in addition to those imposed by the court.
5. A DUI Conviction Could Affect Your Job Prospects.
A DUI conviction can also impair your ability to get into graduate school or find a job after college. A DUI conviction goes on your permanent record, and New Jersey DUIs are not eligible for expungement.
6. There are Defenses to DUI that May Apply Even if You Were Driving Drunk.
The good news is that there are numerous potential defenses to DUI charges in New Jersey, and some of these defenses apply even if you were driving drunk. Of course, you should not assume that you were driving under the influence; and, even if you think you were drunk, you should not admit to driving drunk in court.
7. An Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Can Help.
In order to determine what defenses you have available (and to effectively assert these defenses in court), it is important that you speak with a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. New Jersey prosecutors and judges take DUI cases extremely seriously, and you need to vigorously defend yourself in order to avoid potentially life-changing consequences.
Schedule a Confidential New Jersey DUI Defense Consultation
If you have been charged with DUI and would like to speak with a defense attorney, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential initial consultation. To schedule an appointment as soon as possible, please call 609-281-8730 or inquire online now.