In New Jersey, if you’ve been charged with drinking and driving, you are likely facing fines, potential jail time, a mandatory license suspension and possibly even the loss of your driving privileges or future monitoring through the installation of an ignition interlock device.
Even a first-time DUI is a serious offense because driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts not only the offender at risk, but it also endangers other drivers, passengers and pedestrians who share the roads.
DUI/DWI offenses are some of the most common traffic offenses that occur on New Jersey’s roads and thousands of drunk drivers are arrested every day throughout the state, as well as the rest of the country.
It can be tricky to regulate and penalize drivers who get behind the wheel when they’re intoxicated due, in part, to the fact that there are so many drivers who struggle with addiction and alcoholism that contributes to their decision-making processes.
In these cases, it’s important to understand that drunk drivers need to pay for their wrongdoing, obviously, but they also need help to recover from their addiction and ensure that they don’t drive drunk again. For many offenders, New Jersey offers options for making restitution for the offense and getting help through rehabilitation and education programs.
The Intoxicated Driving Resource Program, also known as IDRC, is a requirement for anyone charged with drunk driving in the state. Program participants must attend alcohol and highway safety education courses and undergo evaluation for dependency on drugs or alcohol.
IDRC monitors compliance with these requirements, and reports any noncompliance to the courts, which could result in further license suspension or other penalties.
New Jersey Drug Court Admission or Denial
Drivers who have never been charged with drunk driving before may have the option to waive certain penalties, such as jail time, through participation in a rehabilitation program, along with fulfilling their IDRC requirements. New Jersey’s drug courts allow drivers charged with DUI/DWI to participate in these programs instead of going to jail.
These courts are established within the Superior Court’s existing system, and typically employ teams of specialists in alcohol and substance abuse to work with court officers.
If you are admitted to the New Jersey drug court program, you will likely be ordered to complete a variety of rehabilitation classes and services. You will also be asked to submit to regular drug testing, and your behavior and activities will be monitored for a set period of time -- much like probation. If you get in trouble or test positive for drug or alcohol use during this time, you may jeopardize your spot in the program.
Some DUI/DWI defendants are denied access to the state’s drug court program. A denial can be issued for a variety of reasons, including multiple DUI offenses, a prior criminal history, failure to show up to previous court appointments or other factors that make a person a less-than-ideal candidate. If you’ve been denied access to a drug court program, you and your attorney can file an appeal to reapply.
For more information on New Jersey’s options for rehabilitation, contact the New Jersey DUI/DWI lawyers at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, today.