Experienced New Jersey DUI Lawyer

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DUI Defense Lawyer in New Jersey

If you are accused of DUI in New Jersey, you face more than a serious legal problem. The repercussions of a drinking-and-driving conviction can have a long-term impact on your reputation, your ability to drive legally, and many of your future opportunities. When arrested and accused of DUI, it’s important to exercise your right to remain silent and contact a New Jersey DUI attorney immediately.

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New Jersey DUI defense lawyer Steven Ellman has 35 years of experience defending challenging DUI cases and is proud to have achieved many remarkable victories. Steven Ellman knows each DUI case is unique, so his goal is to mitigate the damage as much as legally possible.

To date, Steven Ellman has represented over 1,000 DUI cases, and few law firms can match his record of favorable outcomes. These include an 80%-plus success rate in having DUI, DWI, and traffic offense charges dismissed.

Steven Ellman is a certified, award-winning DUI criminal defense attorney and a peer-respected defense lawyer. His authoritative approach, exceptional trial skills, and dedication to each client have led to a reputation for excellence in DUI defense.

Don’t let a DUI ruin your life and stain your record. Reach out to New Jersey DUI lawyer Steven Ellman today.

What Are the New Jersey DUI Limits and Laws?

New Jersey has a legal limit for alcohol intake before it becomes a DUI. New Jersey DUI laws state that you are considered legally intoxicated if you have a blood alcohol level or blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above. If you are a commercially licensed driver, you are considered legally intoxicated if your BAC is 0.04 percent or above. Anyone under the age of 21 with a BAC of 0.01 percent to 0.08 percent can be arrested for a “baby DUI.” (As a reminder, it’s illegal for anyone under age 21 to consume alcohol in New Jersey.)

In addition, New Jersey has an “implied consent law.” It states that by obtaining a driver’s license, you consent to have your BAC tested if you are stopped for drunk driving. If you refuse to take a BAC breath, your license will be suspended for one year.

What Is the Difference Between a DWI and a DUI in New Jersey?

DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated,” while DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” The state does not distinguish between either crime, as both involve operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Because of this, people usually use the terms DUI and DWI interchangeably. They are both prosecuted under the same statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.

Is a DUI a Felony in New Jersey?

Because New Jersey does not consider a DUI to be an “indictable offense,” it is typically not considered a felony. Rather, a DUI in New Jersey is usually considered a serious traffic violation. However, it could be raised to an indictable offense under certain circumstances.

How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost?

The cost of a New Jersey DUI lawyer’s service can vary. For example, cases in which a defendant is a repeat offender can cost more than one in which the defendant is facing charges for a first-time offense. However, when seeking an attorney for a DUI matter, you should be wary of several things:

  • An attorney’s fees should be governed by the number of years of experience and positive client outcomes. Look to a DUI lawyer’s client reviews and case results for insight.
  • The lower an attorney’s fee, the less likely the attorney’s commitment to providing an adequate defense or a favorable result.
  • While jail time is possible for a DUI case, it’s rarely an imposed penalty. If your lawyer frequently brings up exposure to jail, they’re not being effective counsel and are not worth whatever fee they charge.
  • Many attorneys will charge unreasonable, exorbitant fees because of their massive marketing and advertising efforts — costs that must be passed on to the client. The best attorneys are the ones who generate referrals from repeat clients.
  • If a DUI lawyer charges you an initial consultation fee, that’s a sign that they’re looking out for their own interests, not yours.

The Law Office of Steven Ellman believes you shouldn’t have to pay anything just to figure out your next move following a DUI arrest. Instead, Steven Ellman provides a free, in-depth consultation for all cases. He can review your situation, go over your legal rights, and give you the answers you need, including lawyer fees. This way, you can decide what makes sense for you.

Can a DUI Be Dismissed in New Jersey?

Yes, and for several reasons. For example, the prosecution could lack sufficient evidence – such as breathalyzer or blood test results – proving any of the elements of your charge. The evidence could have been obtained in violation of a defendant’s rights (i.e., police lacking probable cause or reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop, failure to advise the suspect of their Miranda rights). In addition, there could be errors in testing, rendering the results scientifically unreliable.

Are There Alternatives to Jail Time in New Jersey DUI Cases?

Depending on the judge’s discretion, people convicted of DUI could have options to being confined in the county jail. These include:

  • DUI probation
  • Home confinement/house arrest
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP)
  • “Weekend jail,” in which the convicted may serve jail time Fridays through Sundays

What Are the Penalties for a DUI in New Jersey?

Because New Jersey drunk driving laws are severe, the penalties that come with a DUI include long-term driving restrictions, costly fines and fees, and significant jail time. These penalties get heftier with each subsequent offense.

DUI First Offense

If you have a BAC of 0.08 to 0.09 percent on your first DUI offense, you could face the following:

  • A fine of $250-$400
  • Jail time of up to 30 days
  • Driver’s license suspension of 90 days
  • Required participation in 2 classes at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center across two consecutive days (minimum 6 hours per class)
  • Three-year $1,000 annual auto insurance surcharge penalty
  • Forfeiture of driver’s license until an ignition interlock is installed on your vehicle; afterward, an interlock is required for 3 months

If your BAC is 0.10 percent or higher, your penalties include:

  • A fine of $300-$500
  • Jail time of up to 30 days
  • Driver’s license suspension of 7 to 12 months
  • Required participation in 2 classes at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center across two consecutive days (minimum 6 hours per class)
  • Three-year $1,000 annual auto insurance surcharge penalty
  • Forfeiture of driver’s license until an ignition interlock is installed on your vehicle; afterward, an interlock is required for 7 months to 1 year

Second Offense

A second DUI charge after a prior conviction in the last 10 years brings higher penalties if you’re convicted. These include:

  • A fine of $500-$1,000
  • Jail time between 2 and 90 days
  • Driver’s license suspension of 2 years
  • Detainment for 48 consecutive hours in a regional IDRC facility
  • Three-year $1,000 annual auto insurance surcharge penalty
  • Ignition interlock device installed for the license suspension period and 2 to 4 years following license restoration

Third Offense

Third and subsequent DUI convictions carry the harshest penalties. These include:

  • A fine of $1,000
  • Jail time of 180 days (note: the court has the option to allow no more than 90 days of the jail term to be served in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program, which must be approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC))
  • Community service term of 30 days
  • Driver’s license suspension of 10 years
  • Completion of IDRC evaluation, referral, and program requirements
  • Three-year $1,000 annual auto insurance surcharge penalty
  • Ignition interlock device installed for the license suspension period and 2 to 4 years following license restoration

Mandatory DUI Fees and Other Considerations

No matter whether the offense is a first DUI, second DUI, or third/subsequent DUI, any New Jersey DUI conviction also requires the convicted to pay:

  • $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge
  • $100 Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee
  • $100 Intoxicated Driving Program fee
  • $50 Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee
  • $75 Safe and Secure Community Program fee

There are other considerations in a DUI matter:

  • A judge can revoke a defendant’s vehicle registration, depending on the facts and severity of the case.
  • The defendant could be hit with increased penalties if the DUI happened in a school zone or school crossing.
  • If a parent or guardian is convicted of DUI, and they had a passenger in their motor vehicle who was 17 or younger, they are also guilty of a disorderly persons offense. As a result, they lose their license for up to 6 months and are required to perform 5 days of community service.
  • A DUI will most likely cause the defendant’s auto insurance premiums to spike.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, you can see what the true cost of a DUI is in New Jersey.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a switch that measures a driver’s BAC. It will start the vehicle’s engine when the driver’s BAC is below the alcohol set point, or it will lock the ignition if the driver’s BAC is at or above the alcohol set point.

If someone else blows into an interlock device to start a motor vehicle on behalf of the convicted person or tampers with the device to circumvent its operation, they may be charged with a disorderly persons offense.

Can I Be Charged with Other Criminal Offenses Besides a DUI / DWI?

Yes. In addition to a DUI / DWI charge, you could face additional criminal charges if, while you were driving under the influence:

  • You were driving or riding with an open container.
  • You were driving with a DUI-suspended license.
  • You were driving while possessing drugs.
  • You were driving recklessly or carelessly.
  • You were speeding.
  • You left the scene of an accident (note that the penalties will be more severe if this results in serious bodily injury or fatality).
  • You caused someone’s death by “vehicular homicide.”
  • You used your vehicle to assault someone.
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Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a DUI Case in New Jersey

Going up against a judge and a prosecutor alone on a DUI charge is never a good idea. Saying the wrong thing upon arrest or before a judge can lead to life-changing punishments that could have been avoided had you hired a lawyer. Further, if the prosecution has a weak case, evidence wasn’t correctly collected, or you passed the necessary tests to prove sobriety, you might not be able to prove these things or provide a compelling argument.

Because New Jersey’s DUI laws are complex, you need someone who knows what they mean and how they can be beaten based on your charge and circumstance. With New Jersey DUI defense attorney Steven Ellman on your side, you’ll have someone with substantial trial practice. This includes time in the field with case investigations, evidence analysis, and negotiating with prosecutors for lesser sentences, reduced charges, or charges being dropped altogether.

As your trusted counsel, Steven Ellman will:

  • Review your case thoroughly to find the best possible defense to the charges against you
  • Assist in preparing for your DUI evaluation
  • Provide complete and transparent information at all stages of your proceedings
  • Be with you or appear on your behalf at every court appearance
  • Investigate all facts relating to your case and recover evidence to be used in your defense
  • Challenge prosecutorial evidence, such as field sobriety, breath tests, and blood test results
  • Fight with tenacity and savvy to ensure your rights are protected

attorney steven ellman hero bannerCall The Law Office of Steven Ellman Today for Experienced DUI and DWI Defense

After being arrested and charged with DUI, the actions you take immediately after the arrest can significantly impact the outcome. The earlier that the Law Office of Steven Ellman gets to work for you, the better your options could be — including reduced charges, dismissed charges, or a “not guilty” verdict at trial.

Let an experienced, reputable New Jersey DUI defense attorney help you pursue the best possible outcome from your DUI charges. Contact Steven Ellman today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.


New Jersey DUI Laws and Penalties Infographic
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