When you are facing a DUI charge in New Jersey, it is important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. There are lots of ways an experienced New Jersey DUI defense lawyer can help you, and by hiring a lawyer promptly, you can give yourself the best possible chance of a favorable outcome.
But, it is also important to have reasonable expectations. While there are lots of ways an experienced lawyer can help you, there are also many factors that are beyond your lawyer’s control. So what should (and shouldn’t) you expect from your lawyer?
What to Expect from Your New Jersey DUI Defense Lawyer
We’ll start with what you should expect from your New Jersey DUI defense lawyer. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer is your advocate, and your lawyer will advise you with your best interests in mind. Just like you, your lawyer’s goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome, which is to avoid a DUI conviction if at all possible.
With this in mind, here is what you can expect from your legal representation:
1. Your Lawyer Will Keep All Information You Share Strictly Confidential
When you hire a lawyer to represent you, all information you share with your lawyer will be kept strictly confidential. Your lawyer will not tell anyone outside of the firm about your case, and your lawyer will not use any of the information you provide in court unless you approve.
To ensure that your lawyer can build the strongest possible defense, you need to be truthful. You need to tell your lawyer everything you know, and you need to avoid misconstruing any of the facts. Your lawyer’s duty to maintain your confidentiality ensures that none of the information you share will be used against you.
2. Your Lawyer Will Provide Legal Advice Based on Your Personal Circumstances
After reviewing the facts of your case, your lawyer will provide legal advice based on your personal circumstances. This includes advising you regarding the following:
- Your next steps for protecting yourself
- Mistakes you need to avoid
- The options you have in your DUI case
In DUI cases, the facts matter immensely. Even a single detail could be the difference between facing the lifelong consequences of a DUI conviction and having your charge dismissed. As a result, personalized legal advice is critical—and, again, you need to ensure that you provide your lawyer with as much information about your case as possible.
3. Your Lawyer Will Help You Understand What Is At Risk in Your Case
In addition to advising you regarding your next steps, your lawyer will also help you understand what is at risk in your case. New Jersey’s DUI laws impose severe penalties, and a DUI might not be the only charge you are facing. To ensure that you are making smart decisions, you need to know what will happen if you get convicted in court.
Your lawyer will explain the penalties you are facing based on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), your prior record (if any), and all other pertinent factors. Once you know how much you have to lose if you get convicted, then you can start making informed decisions about how you want to approach your case.
4. Your Lawyer Will Determine What Defenses You Have Available
Regardless of the facts of your New Jersey DUI case, you have defenses available. Your lawyer will evaluate all potential defenses and determine which ones you can use to fight your DUI. Too often, people assume there is nothing they can do, and they end up facing the consequences of a DUI conviction unnecessarily. When facing a DUI charge, making assumptions can be extremely costly, and you cannot afford to give up when you have grounds to fight.
From keeping the prosecution’s evidence out of court to showing that the prosecution’s evidence is insufficient to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, there are several possible ways to fight a New Jersey DUI charge. Relying on his or her experience, your lawyer will determine what he or she believes is the best strategy for protecting you in court.
5. Your Lawyer Will Represent You in Court
Going to court can be intimidating. It can also be risky if you don’t know what to do (and what to say) while you are there. As a result, it is important to have experienced legal representation.
When you hire a New Jersey DUI defense lawyer, your lawyer will represent you in court. Your lawyer will speak to the judge on your behalf and communicate with the prosecutor’s office as necessary. This way, you won’t unknowingly put yourself at risk, and you can be confident that everything possible is being done to protect you from a conviction.
What Not to Expect from Your New Jersey DUI Defense Lawyer
While it is important to know what you can expect from your New Jersey DUI defense lawyer, it is important to know what not to expect as well. Even the most experienced lawyers can only do so much, and there are only so many factors that they can control. With this in mind, here is what you should not expect from your legal representation:
1. Your Lawyer Will Not Negotiate a Plea Bargain for Your DUI
Many people assume that they will be able to avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI conviction by negotiating a plea deal. You may have heard of a “wet reckless,” and you might assume that your lawyer will be able to negotiate a plea that minimizes the consequences of your arrest.
But, in New Jersey, this isn’t an option.
The New Jersey courts do not allow plea bargaining in DUI cases. While your lawyer might be able to negotiate any other charges you are facing, you will need to confront your DUI charge head-on.
2. Your Lawyer Will Not Help You Enter Into a Diversionary Program
Another option that is available in some states is entering into a diversionary program. These programs allow people (usually first-time offenders) who are facing DUI charges to avoid a conviction if they meet certain requirements.
But this isn’t an option in New Jersey either.
While New Jersey has diversion programs for certain criminal offenses, diversion isn’t an option when you are facing a DUI. As a result, to have any chance of avoiding a conviction entirely, you will need to present an effective defense strategy in court.
3. Your Lawyer Will Not Misrepresent the Facts of Your Case
All lawyers are held to high ethical standards. While your lawyer will advocate for you to the best of his or her ability, your lawyer will not misrepresent the facts of your case to the court. Your lawyer can seek to keep evidence out of court—which is a key defense strategy in many cases—but your lawyer cannot present misleading evidence or make statements that aren’t true.
This is another reason why it is important to be honest with your lawyer. Your lawyer needs to know the truth in order to represent you effectively. With a clear understanding of all relevant facts, your lawyer will be able to develop a defense strategy that is designed to protect you in light of the facts at hand.
4. Your Lawyer Will Not Guarantee a Particular Outcome
No lawyer can guarantee a particular outcome in your DUI case. While your lawyer should be able to assess the viability of various defense strategies, it simply isn’t possible to predict what will happen in court. So, when you hire a lawyer to represent you, you should not expect him or her to promise that you will be able to avoid a conviction.
What can your lawyer guarantee? Your lawyer can guarantee that he or she will be up-front about your options, costs and chances of success, and your lawyer can guarantee that he or she will fight your DUI to the best of his or her ability. But, otherwise, it is important to accept that you are currently facing uncertain circumstances.
5. Your Lawyer Will Not Tell You How or When to Resolve Your Case
Finally, while your lawyer will give you advice, your lawyer will not tell you how or when to resolve your case. Instead, this is up to you. It is your future that is on the line, and you need to be confident that you are making the right decisions for you and your family.
Request a Confidential Initial Consultation at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.
Are you facing a DUI charge in New Jersey? If so, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your case in confidence. With multiple office locations, we represent individuals in DUI cases statewide. To speak with a New Jersey DUI defense lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. as soon as possible, call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online now.