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Drunk Driving: Common Mistakes After a DUI Arrest

With the severe penalties for DUI convictions in New Jersey (including the possibility of a 30-day jail sentence for a first-time offense), individuals facing drunk driving charges must be extremely careful to avoid mistakes that could jeopardize their legal defense. Here is a list of 7 mistakes to avoid, prepared by the DUI defense attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

Mistake #1: Refusing an Alcotest (Breathalyzer Test)

Under New Jersey’s “implied consent” law, refusing to submit to a breath test (using the Alcotest device) can have serious consequences. If it is not too late, do not refuse the breath test, and follow these additional recommendations for dealing with the police during your DUI arrest.

Mistake #2: Assuming Alcotest Results are Accurate

If you blow above a 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) on the Alcotest (or above 0.04 percent if you were driving a commercial vehicle), do not assume that the results are accurate. You have the right to seek independent testing, and there are a number of ways our attorneys can challenge your Alcotest results.

Mistake #3: Assuming You are Guilty

Never assume you are guilty. New Jersey’s DUI laws are harsh, but they are also complicated, and oftentimes individuals charged with drunk driving offenses will have numerous defenses available. Additionally, even if you were driving above the legal limit, police misconduct and other mistakes could still provide defenses that allow you to avoid a conviction.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Your DUI Charge

One of the biggest mistakes you can make after a drunk driving arrest is to ignore your DUI charge. If you do nothing, your charge will not go away, and failing to appear in court can have consequences which include additional charges and having a warrant issued for your arrest.

Mistake #5: Failing to Understand What is at Risk

When facing a DUI charge, it is important to understand what is at risk. Even assuming you submitted to the Alcotest and there are no “aggravating factors” factors involved in your case, the potential penalties for a first-time offense include:

  • Up to a 12-month license suspension
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Up to 48 hours of mandatory alcohol education
  • An insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years
  • Additional financial penalties

You may also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), which is a device that most people would like to avoid, as it is typically a huge inconvenience. These, of course, are in addition to the practical (and long-term) consequences of having a DUI conviction on your official record.

Mistake #6: Continuing to Drink and Drive

This should hopefully go without saying, but you were pulled over for drunk driving, you need to make sure you do not continue to drink and drive. In addition to putting yourself and others at risk, getting another DUI charge while your case is pending can significantly enhance your potential penalties.

Mistake #7: Trying to Defend Yourself Without Legal Representation

With all that is at stake, if you have been charged with DUI in New Jersey, you simply cannot afford to try your case on your own. There are numerous benefits to retaining an experienced attorney—starting with understanding the additional mistakes you need to avoid in order to protect your legal rights.

Schedule a DUI Defense Consultation at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

For more information about the steps you should be taking after a DUI arrest in New Jersey, contact Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. to schedule a free confidential initial consultation. To speak with an experienced defense attorney about your case, call 1-877-435-6371 or submit your information online today.

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