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Bridgeton, NJ 08302
From fines and insurance surcharges to loss of your driving privileges and possible jail time, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) in Freehold and other cities in New Jersey are severe. Whether this is your first offense or you are being charged as a repeat offender, you need to take your situation very seriously. At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., our Freehold DUI lawyer provides experienced and aggressive legal representation for individuals charged with DUI. We can help protect you if you do not deserve to be convicted; or, if necessary, we can work to minimize the consequences of your DUI arrest at trial.
In Freehold and elsewhere in New Jersey, DUI is prosecuted as a traffic offense under Section 39:4-50 of the Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation title of the New Jersey Revised Statutes. This section makes it illegal to, “operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more . . . .” This means that:
Under Section 39:4-50, the penalties for DUI vary based upon the defendant’s BAC and DUI history, and you can face additional charges and penalties if you were arrested with an open container, in a school zone, with minor passengers, after causing an accident, after refusing a breath test, or under various other circumstances. However, the circumstances of your arrest may give rise to a variety of potential defenses as well, and you should be sure to discuss any potentially-relevant details with your Freehold DUI lawyer.
Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive experience in defending criminal cases. They were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers with a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. They have handled thousands of DUI cases successfully in Freehold and across the state. You can find out more about them on our site, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.
When our Freehold DUI lawyer evaluates your case, all potential defenses will be taken under consideration. Additionally, our team will develop a comprehensive case strategy focused on negating the prosecution’s evidence at trial. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, some of the defenses you may have available include:
As we mentioned above, DUI is not a crime under New Jersey law. However, it is still possible to face criminal charges as a result of a DUI arrest in some cases. Additionally, depending on the circumstances involved in your case, you could face charges for additional traffic violations or juvenile offenses as well. If you are facing charges for any of the following, it is even more critical that you speak with a Freehold DUI lawyer right away:
Vehicular homicide (also called vehicular manslaughter or death by auto) is a serious criminal offense. In most cases, vehicular homicide is a second-degree indictable crime. However, it can be charged as a first-degree indictable crime in cases involving DUI on school property or at a school crossing. Second-degree indictable crimes carry up to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine, while first-degree indictable crimes carry 10 years to life plus up to a $200,000 fine.
Vehicular assault (or assault by auto) is also a serious criminal offense. If you caused an accident while driving under the influence that resulted in injuries to others, you could face prosecution for a third-degree indictable crime carrying a three to five-year prison sentence and up to a $15,000 fine.
If you caused an accident while driving drunk and left the scene before the police arrived, you could be charged with an additional traffic offense or up to a third-degree indictable crime. Leaving the scene of an accident is an indictable crime when the accident results in serious bodily injury.
If you had an open container of alcohol in your vehicle at the time of your arrest, you could face a charge under New Jersey’s open container law in addition to facing a DUI charge. Open container violations are considered traffic offenses under New Jersey law, similar to DUIs. In addition to fighting your drunk driving charge, your Freehold DWI lawyer can fight your open container violation charge as well—and do everything possible to help ensure that the consequences of your arrest are no greater than necessary.
New Jersey’s minor in possession (MIP) statute applies to both juveniles and adults who are under age 21. If you have been charged with a MIP violation as a result of a DUI arrest, you could be facing up to $1,000 in fines, 180 days in jail and mandatory participation in an alcohol treatment program. These are in addition to the penalties you are facing as a result of your DUI.
If you are under age 18, your case may be handled in juvenile court. While juvenile cases are very different from adult criminal cases, an adjudication of delinquency can still have severe and long-term consequences. As a result, it will be extremely important for you to hire an experienced Freehold DUI lawyer who can help protect you by all means available.
We already mentioned some of the types of penalties New Jersey law imposes for driving while intoxicated. Along with the penalties listed above, both first-time and repeat offenders can be required to spend time at an Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center and install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles; and, for a third or subsequent offense, the prison sentence for DWI can be as long as 180 days.
In addition to the judicial penalties for DWI, other consequences of a DWI conviction in New Jersey can include:
Even if you were above the legal limit when the police stopped you, you could still have a variety of defenses available. Was your stop lawful? Was your breath test administered properly? These are just two examples of the numerous questions an experienced DWI attorney will be able to ask in order to raise questions about the prosecution’s case.
In order to protect yourself to the greatest extent possible, there are several critical mistakes you need to avoid. An experienced Freehold DWI lawyer will be able to explain everything you need to know in order to avoid the mistakes that could jeopardize your freedom.
While DWI charges are common, defending against a DWI charge is an exceedingly complicated process. From determining whether the arresting officer violated your Constitutional rights to following the necessary court procedures, each step in the process requires deep legal knowledge and intimate familiarity with New Jersey’s judicial system.
Additionally, it is also important to note that, unlike other states, even a first-time offender with an excellent prior driving record, a job, a mortgage to pay and a family to care for will lose his or her driver's license if convicted of a DWI offense. There is no option for a limited license, alternative punishment or first-time diversionary program, as are common in other states. Also, a person charged with DWI cannot get a jury trial, which is often available for those facing DWI charges in other states.
In New Jersey, driving while intoxicated is considered a “traffic offense,” not a crime. While this may initially sound like a good thing, it actually has a number of negative ramifications. Among them, since a DWI is not a criminal conviction, it is not eligible for expungement. If you are convicted of DWI, and you do not have grounds to challenge the validity of your conviction, your DWI will remain on your record for the rest of your life.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Freehold, NJ, you need a lawyer. To discuss your case with a Freehold DWI lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. in confidence, please call 1-877-435-6371 or request an initial DUI consultation online today.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.