A DUI arrest can be frightening, and it’s natural to worry about its effects on your future. However, the right DUI lawyer can make all the difference in your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help fight your charges and work for the best possible outcome for your case, whether that means obtaining a dismissal of your charges, an acquittal, or negotiating a favorable plea deal. However, finding the best DUI lawyer is a highly personal decision. Here are some tips from the Law Offices of Steven Ellman.
Reasons to Hire a DUI Attorney
A DUI conviction could cost you thousands of dollars, result in jail time, and have long-term impacts on your personal and professional life. With help from an experienced DUI attorney, you may avoid or minimize the consequences of a criminal conviction to move forward with your life.
A knowledgeable DUI lawyer can:
- Explain your charges and discuss the possible outcomes of your case
- Protect your civil and constitutional rights
- Investigate your charges and find evidence to support a defense, such as challenging the legality of the traffic stop or the reliability of toxicology test results
- Evaluate your legal options and develop a strategy to achieve the best possible resolution to your case
- Where appropriate, negotiate with the prosecution to obtain favorable sentencing in a plea deal
- Prepare and present a persuasive defense if your case goes to trial
How to Pick a Good DUI Lawyer In New Jersey
A skilled DUI lawyer will give you the best chance of avoiding a conviction or minimizing the consequences of a conviction. You need an attorney with extensive experience handling DUI cases and a proven record of success.
To find the right lawyer for you, you can obtain multiple referrals from various sources, such as:
- Family members and friends who have hired DUI lawyers in the past
- Other attorneys
- State and local bar association directories
- Internet searches and online lawyer directories
A good New Jersey DUI lawyer will have extensive training, certification in their area of practice, and dedicate a hefty portion of their caseload to DUI/DWI defense. Qualified attorneys often have associations with professional organizations like the National College for DUI Defense or the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. They should also have a high success rate in resolving DUI cases and positive reviews from past clients.
Questions to Ask a DUI Lawyer
Think of your initial consultation with a DUI lawyer as a job interview. You’re hiring, and you need to know if the attorney is the best person for the job. Examples of questions to ask include:
- How long have you practiced law?
- How long have you practiced criminal defense?
- What percentage of your caseload involves DUI charges?
- How frequently do you go to trial? How often do you win?
- Have you handled cases like mine?
- Do you have any experience as a prosecutor?
- Do you have any certifications?
- What are the possible outcomes of my charges?
- Will you personally handle my case?
- How often should I expect updates?
- How quickly do you respond to calls/emails/texts?
- How do you structure your legal fees?
Consequences of a DUI Conviction in NJ
The penalties you can face for a DUI conviction in New Jersey will depend on whether you have prior DUI convictions and the degree of your intoxication upon your arrest.
Penalties for a first-time DUI conviction include:
- Blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, but less than 0.10 – A fine of $250 to $400, incarceration for up to 30 days, driver’s license forfeiture until the installation of an ignition interlock device, interlock requirement of three months, a minimum of six hours per day for two days at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), and an automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years
- BAC of 0.10 or higher, but less than 0.15 percent – A fine of $300 to $500, incarceration for up to 30 days, driver’s license forfeiture until you install an ignition interlock, interlock requirement of seven to 12 months, a minimum of six hours per day for two days at an IDRC, and insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years
- BAC of 0.15 percent or higher, or intoxication by narcotics – A fine of $300 to $500, incarceration for 30 days, driver’s license suspension for four to six months, interlock requirement during license suspension and for nine to 15 months afterward, a minimum of six hours per day for two days at an IDRC, and an auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years
Penalties for a second DUI conviction include:
- Fines between $500 and $1,000,
- Incarceration for up to 48 hours to 90 days
- 30 days of community service
- Driver’s license suspension for 1-2 years
- Ignition interlock requirement during license suspension and two to four years after reinstatement
- Completion of evaluation/referral/program requirements of an IDRC
- Automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years
Penalties for a third or subsequent DUI conviction include:
- $1,000 fine
- Incarceration for 180 days (with up to 90 days served in a drug/alcohol inpatient rehabilitation center)
- 30 days of community service
- Driver’s license suspension for 8 years
- Ignition interlock requirement during license suspension and two to four years after license restoration
- Completion of evaluation, referral, and program requirements of an IDRC
- Automobile insurance surcharge of $1,500 for three years
Furthermore, having a DUI conviction on your record can make obtaining educational, employment, loan, or housing opportunities challenging. Employers, educational institutions, landlords, and banks may reject applicants whose background checks return a criminal record.
Get a Free Consultation with Our Skilled DUI Attorney in New Jersey.
If you need help facing DUI charges in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of Steven Ellman. For over 35 years, Steven Ellman has successfully helped clients resolve the most complex DUI cases effectively and promptly in Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey. Aggressive representation and personalized attention are hallmarks of Steven Ullman’s approach to client service. He is listed among the Top 10 attorneys in New Jersey for getting his clients’ charges dropped, and he is ready to stand up for you. Call or contact the Law Offices of Steven Ullman today for a free consultation.