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Facing a drunk driving (DWI or DUI) charge in Millville is a serious matter. While most people are aware that a drunk driving conviction can lead to fines and loss of driving privileges, what most people don’t realize is that a conviction can also lead to jail time and other consequences. Therefore, to protect your finances, freedom and future, you need to have an effective defense, and this starts with putting an experienced Millville DWI lawyer on your side.
When you hire a Millville DUI attorney at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., your attorney will explain everything you need to know about your situation. This includes the penalties and collateral consequences that are at stake, the defenses you have available, and your likelihood of avoiding a conviction at trial. While New Jersey’s drunk driving laws are supposedly focused on deterrence, DUI sentences can be highly punitive, and, as a result, you need to fight your
charge by all means available.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Millville, there are some facts it will be important for you to know as your case moves forward. For example:
In New Jersey, driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are two different versions of the same offense. Both violate Section 39:4-50 of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code, and both carry the same penalties.
So, what’s the difference? Generally, if you take the breathalyzer and blow above New Jersey’s legal limit of 0.08% (or the reduced legal limit for CDL drivers and those under 21), you will be charged with DWI. If you refuse the breathalyzer, or if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit, the police can still arrest you based on other evidence that you are under the influence of alcohol. While both allegations can lead to the same outcomes, understanding
how you are being charged is critical for asserting an effective defense.
In many cases, when the police in Millville make a drunk driving arrest, they will cite the driver for other statutory violations in addition to DUI/DWI. For example, other common charges in drunk driving cases include:
● Implied consent violations (improperly refusing the breathalyzer)
● Zero tolerance violations (underage drinking and driving)
● Possession of an open container while driving
● Drunk driving with a minor passenger
● Drunk driving resulting in injury or death by auto
While DUI/DWI is considered a traffic violation under New Jersey law, some of these are criminal offenses. In fact, some of these can be charged as indictable offenses (comparable to felonies in other states) depending on the circumstances involved.
In many states, first-time DUI offenders can avoid prosecution by entering into a diversionary program. These programs “divert” defendants’ DUI cases from a trial, and defendants can keep their records clean if they meet the program’s requirements.
However, New Jersey is not one of these states. Therefore, if you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI/DWI in Millville, you will need to fight your charge to avoid a stain on your record. Additionally, since New Jersey law classifies drunk driving as a traffic violation rather than a crime, DUI/DWI convictions are not eligible for expungement.
Let’s say you ignore your drunk driving ticket. What will happen? The answer is simple: You will get convicted in court. Millville’s judges and prosecutors take drunk driving cases very seriously, and you can expect to face substantial penalties if you do not hire a Millville DWI lawyer to represent you.
Speaking of hiring a Millville DUI lawyer, there are many ways an experienced lawyer can help you. For example, when you hire a lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., your lawyer will:
● Identify your next court date and prepare you for your hearing
● Explain the penalties and other consequences you could face if you get convicted
● Help you avoid costly mistakes that could make it more difficult (or impossible) to execute a successful defense
● Examine the facts of your case to determine what defenses you have available
● Build a comprehensive and cohesive defense strategy focused on obtaining a favorable outcome in light of the facts at hand
● Represent you in court, including defending you in front of the judge at trial (jury trials are not available in DUI/DWI cases in Millville)
Whether you are a first-time offender or you have a previous drunk driving conviction in Millville or another jurisdiction, you are facing serious penalties in your DUI case. These penalties include:
● Hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines
● Thousands of dollars in insurance surcharges
● Indefinite loss of your driver’s license
● Days, months, or years in jail
● Mandatory alcohol education (at your expense)
● Mandatory ignition interlock device installation (at your expense)
As we mentioned above, DUI convictions can have various consequences as well. For example, in addition to the penalties listed above, a conviction could also lead to:
● Loss of your job and future employment opportunities
● Loss of housing and financing opportunities
● Discipline, suspension, or expulsion from school
● Professional discipline (if you hold a professional license)
● Negative impacts on your reputation in your profession and community
● Additional out-of-pocket costs due to being unable to drive
While a DWI conviction can have many consequences, there are also many potential ways to fight a drunk driving charge in Millville. The defenses your attorney can assert on your behalf will depend heavily on the facts of your case. With this in mind, some examples of possible defenses to DWI charges include:
● Unlawful Traffic Stop – If the police executed an unlawful traffic stop, then all of the government’s evidence against you may be inadmissible in court (assuming your Millville DUI lawyer is able to file a successful motion to suppress or exclude evidence).
● Unconstitutional Search or Seizure – Likewise, if the police searched you or seized evidence in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, this could also render the evidence inadmissible in court.
● Alternate Explanation for Breathalyzer or FST Results – While prosecutors rely on BAC results and field sobriety test (FST) results as strong evidence of guilt, there will often be alternate explanations (or possible alternate explanations) for defendants’ “failures.”
● Lack of Evidence of Guilt – Regardless of whether the police violated your rights, if prosecutors don’t have adequate evidence of guilt, you are entitled to walk out of the court in Millville with your charge (or charges) dismissed.
● Evidence of Non-Intoxication – Although it isn’t necessary to prove your innocence (you only need to prevent the prosecution from proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt), if you can prove your innocence, this could be the most effective and straightforward way to avoid a conviction.
Yes, there is a reason why people hire Millville DWI lawyers to represent them. If you are facing any type of drunk driving charge in Millville, the penalties (and other consequences) you have at stake will likely far exceed the costs of your legal representation.
You should hire a Millville DUI attorney as soon as possible after your drunk driving arrest. Drunk driving cases proceed quickly in Millville, and you will need to rely on your attorney’s advice to avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your defense.
No, New Jersey does not allow individuals who have been convicted of DUI to obtain “work only” driver's licenses. Therefore, if you lose your driving privileges as a result of your arrest, you will be completely unable to drive until your license is restored.
Generally, the Millville courts recognize breathalyzer test results as a reliable source of evidence in DUI/DWI cases. With that said, there are several ways an experienced Millville DWI lawyer may be able to challenge your BAC reading in court. Keep in mind, however, that even if your lawyer is able to successfully challenge your BAC, you may still need to overcome other evidence to avoid a conviction.
Are you facing a drunk driving charge in Millville? If so, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away. To speak with a Millville DUI attorney at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. in confidence, call 877-435-6371 or contact us online now.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.