Were you arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in New Jersey? If you have a prior DUI conviction within the last 10 years, you could face a second DUI in New Jersey, which carries enhanced penalties and more significant consequences than a first-time conviction. Don’t jeopardize your freedom and future by leaving the outcome to chance. Let New Jersey DUI defense lawyer Steven Ellman help you advocate for your rights and interests in your case.
For over 35 years, attorney Steven Ellman has defended clients facing criminal charges throughout New Jersey. Steven Ellman has dedicated himself to securing favorable outcomes and verdicts to help clients resolve their charges promptly. He has an established reputation for treating clients with compassion, respect, and attentiveness. Steven Ellman will take the time to listen to your concerns and goals, clearly and honestly lay out your options, and help you make informed decisions to pursue the results you want and need.
Contact the Law Office of Steven Ellman today for a free initial case review to learn more about your rights when facing charges of a second DUI. You don’t have to leave yourself to the mercy of the justice system. Turn to New Jersey DUI defense attorney Steven Ellman to pursue a favorable resolution to your charges.
What Are the New Jersey DUI Laws?
New Jersey’s DUI law is contained in §39:4-50 of the New Jersey Statutes. Under the state’s DUI law, a driver may not operate a motor vehicle when impaired by alcohol or drugs to the point that it affects their ability to do so safely. Further, a driver can be charged with DUI for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a narcotic or hallucinogenic drug.
A motorist can also be arrested for DUI when they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) measured at 0.08 percent or more. However, specific drivers have lower BAC thresholds at which they can be charged with DUI. For example, commercial drivers operating commercial vehicles can be convicted of DUI with a BAC of 0.04 percent or more, while drivers under 21 may not have any detectable alcohol in their system.
New Jersey’s DUI laws also include the implied consent law, set forth at §39:40-50.2. Under the implied consent law, a driver operating a motor vehicle on a public road or in a public place in New Jersey is deemed to have given consent to submit to a breath, blood, or urine chemical test upon arrest for DUI. Although law enforcement may not force a driver to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample, a driver who refuses to submit to testing following a DUI arrest may face various consequences for their refusal, including suspension of their driving privileges.
What Are Common Charges for a Second DUI in New Jersey?
A person can be charged with a second DUI if they have a prior DUI conviction within the last 10 years. A driver may be arrested for DUI if they:
- Show signs of impairment from alcohol or drug intoxication that renders them unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.
- Have narcotic or hallucinogenic drugs detected through a blood or urine test?
- Have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more.
- Have a blood alcohol content of 0.04 while operating a commercial vehicle.
- Have any detectable quantity of alcohol if they are under the age of 21.
Is a Second Offense DUI a Felony in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, DUI is not considered a criminal offense. Instead, New Jersey law classifies DUI as a serious traffic violation. New Jersey law does not divide criminal offenses into felonies and misdemeanors as most states do. Instead, a person may be convicted of a crime of the first, second, third, or fourth degree in New Jersey, similar to a felony. Furthermore, a person may be convicted of a disorderly person’s offense or petty disorderly person’s offense, similar to misdemeanors but not considered crimes in New Jersey.
A driver who commits a second DUI offense may face criminal charges in addition to their DUI charge if the offense involves certain aggravating circumstances, such as:
- Driving with a license that was suspended or revoked for a prior DUI conviction
- Causing an accident that results in serious bodily injury or death to another person
- Causing an accident in a school zone resulting in injury or death
- Fleeing the scene of an accident that causes injury or death to another person
Common Defenses Used in Second DUI Cases
Possible defenses and legal strategies that may be used to fight a second DUI charge or to reduce the severity of penalties include:
- Seeking to overturn your prior DUI conviction, such as by filing a post-conviction petition based on ineffective assistance of prior counsel or newly discovered evidence, which, if successful, will mean that your current DUI charge becomes a first-time DUI charge.
- Challenging the validity or reliability of field sobriety testing or drug-impairment recognition evaluation.
- Challenging the reliability of blood, urine, or breath testing, including arguing that testing equipment was not calibrated, testing procedures were not followed, or the chain of custody of samples was not maintained.
- Arguing that police lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop you in the first place or that law enforcement was improperly conducting a DUI checkpoint by subjectively choosing vehicles rather than selecting vehicles via an objective method.
- Arguing a lack of evidence to prove you were in control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, such as if you were arrested outside of your car or while you were sleeping in your car with the engine off.
- Moving to exclude statements obtained from you in violation of your rights, such as during questioning without being read your rights or being denied access to an attorney.
What Are Penalties for a Second DUI in New Jersey?
- A fine of $500 to $1,000
- Jail term of 48 consecutive hours to up to 90 days
- Driver’s license suspension for one to two years
- Completion of evaluation, referral, and programs of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)
- Thirty days of community service
- Auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years
- Installation of an ignition interlock device during the period of driver’s license suspension and for two to four years following license restoration
Additional penalties for a second DUI conviction can include the imposition of fees for IDRC programs and the requirement to pay the costs of prosecution.
Can a Second DUI Be Dismissed in New Jersey?
Because a conviction for a second DUI carries a mandatory jail term of at least 48 hours, prosecutors rarely exercise their discretion to dismiss a charge for a second DUI. A prosecutor usually must certify that some defect in the case prevents prosecution before they can move to dismiss a charge of a second DUI.
However, you can still obtain a dismissal of your case under certain circumstances, such as having your prior DUI conviction vacated so that your current charge becomes a first-time DUI charge or by successfully moving to exclude the prosecution’s evidence. This evidence might include breath, blood, or urine test results or statements you made to the police so that the prosecution can no longer prove the case against you.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Second DUI Case in New Jersey
Don’t assume you are without defenses to a charge of second DUI. A conviction for a second DUI offense carries significant penalties and can have long-term consequences for your life. You need New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Steven Ellman, who can help you protect your rights and interests by:
- Conducting a thorough, independent investigation of the charges against you to secure evidence he can use to build an effective, persuasive defense strategy for you.
- Protecting your rights throughout the law enforcement investigation, including if the police want to question you or take breath or blood or urine samples from you.
- Discussing your charges with you so that you understand your rights and options and what to expect in your case, including the potential consequences you may face if convicted of a second DUI.
- Bringing in expert witnesses, if necessary, to contest the results of field sobriety testing or breath, urine, or blood chemical testing.
- Pursuing every avenue to reduce or dismiss your DUI charge, including moving to overturn a prior DUI conviction or filing motions to exclude prosecution evidence that is unreliable or was obtained in violation of your rights.
- Fighting for the best possible resolution in your case, including advocating on your behalf at trial if you choose to contest your charge.
Contact a New Jersey Second DUI Defense Attorney Today
The consequences of a second DUI conviction can be severe. Don’t leave your freedom to chance. Instead, get the legal help you need to pursue a favorable outcome in your case by contacting the Law Office of Steven Ellman. New Jersey DUI defense Steven Ellman offers free, confidential consultations, so you may learn about how he can help you throughout your case.