Have you been arrested and charged with DWI in Morris County, NJ? Then you need experienced legal representation to protect your rights, freedom, and future. You need The Law Office of Steven Ellman.
For the last 35 years, Steven Ellman has fought hard for those charged with DUI in New Jersey. He has compiled a proven record of success in that time, getting over 80 percent of the DWI and traffic violation cases he has handled dismissed from court. He treats clients with respect, compassion, and transparency during challenging times, and he does everything he can to make them easier.
Ready to find out how a Morris County DUI defense lawyer can help you fight for the best possible outcome to your intoxicated driving charges? Then contact Steven Ellman today for a free, no-risk consultation.
Understanding DUI/DWI Charges in Morris County, NJ
New Jersey law makes it illegal for a person to drive while under the influence of alcohol or narcotic/hallucinogenic drugs. Police can arrest someone for DWI if they have reason to believe that person’s ability to operate a vehicle has been compromised by alcohol or drug consumption. Further, a person commits per se drunk driving when they drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more, regardless of whether they can still safely operate a vehicle.
Commercial vehicle drivers have a lower per se BAC limit of 0.04 percent. New Jersey also has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drunk driving, making it illegal for drivers under 21 to drive with any detectable alcohol in their system.
Penalties for a DWI conviction in Morris County may vary based on circumstances such as the driver’s BAC, any prior DWI convictions, and aggravating circumstances, like driving through a school zone. For a first-time drunk driving conviction, penalties may include the following:
- BAC of 0.08 Percent or More But Less Than 0.10 Percent – Fine of $250 to $400, up to 30 days’ incarceration, forfeiture of driver’s license until the driver installs an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, three months’ ignition interlock requirement, two days of six-hour programs at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and an annual auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years
- BAC of 0.10 Percent or More But Less Than 0.15 Percent – Fine of $300 to $500, up to 30 days in jail, forfeiture of driver’s license until the driver installs an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, seven to 12 months’ ignition interlock requirement, two days of six-hour classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and an annual auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years
- BAC of 0.15 Percent or Higher – Fine of $300 to $500, up to 30 days in jail, four to six months’ driver’s license suspension, ignition interlock requirement during license suspension and for nine to 15 months following license restoration, two days of six-hour classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and an annual auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years
Penalties for a second conviction for DWI may include a fine of $500 to $1,000, 48 hours to 90 days in jail, one- to two-year driver’s license suspension, ignition interlock requirement during license suspension and for two to four years following license restoration, 30 days of community service, and an annual auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years.
Penalties for a third or subsequent DWI conviction can include a $1,000 fine, 180 days in jail (90 of which an offender may serve in an approved inpatient drug/alcohol rehabilitation facility), eight-year driver’s license suspension, ignition interlock requirement during license suspension and for two to four years following license restoration, 30 days of community service, and an annual auto insurance surcharge of $1,500 for three years.
The Legal Process for DUI/DWI in Morris County
When the police arrest you for DWI, you can expect to go through several stages during the criminal justice process. After arrest and booking at the police station, where officers have also likely conducted a breathalyzer test to confirm your intoxication, you can expect to appear in court within a couple of days for a preliminary hearing/arraignment. At this hearing, the trial court will ask you to enter a plea, explain your fundamental rights as a criminal defendant, and confirm whether you have or want legal counsel.
If you plead not guilty, you will go through the pre-trial process. This process may include discovery, where you exchange evidence with the prosecution. You or your attorney may file various pre-trial motions, such as motions to suppress evidence or dismiss your charges.
If you don’t resolve your case through a plea agreement or dismissal, your charges will reach trial, where the prosecution must present evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You can present evidence and witnesses to challenge the prosecution’s case and raise a reasonable doubt about your guilt.
Your Rights After a DUI/DWI Arrest
After a DUI arrest, you have several critical rights that you should exercise. First, you have the right to remain silent and to refuse to answer the police’s questions. You also have the right to legal counsel and to consult with an attorney before police questioning. Exercising your right to an attorney as early as possible after an arrest can help you protect your other rights, as your attorney can advise you on your options and go to court if necessary to bring violations of your rights to the court’s attention.
Possible Defenses in a Morris County DUI Case
Just because the police arrested you for DWI does not mean prosecutors will convict you. Depending on the facts of your case, you may have various defenses against a DUI charge. An experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer can assess your situation to determine and apply potential defenses, including:
- Contesting the validity of the traffic stop by showing that the police lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull you over
- Contesting the validity of a DUI checkpoint by showing that police failed to follow appropriate procedures, such as choosing vehicles in an objective, neutral manner
- Challenging the reliability of field sobriety testing by arguing that medical conditions or physical impairments interfered with testing or that the officer lacked training to conduct the test
- Challenging the reliability of chemical test results by showing that police failed to follow testing procedures or had not calibrated the testing equipment
Contact The Law Office of Steven Ellman
A DUI conviction can have significant consequences for your reputation and future. Don’t leave your freedom and livelihood to chance. Let a seasoned Morris County DUI/DWI defense attorney defend your rights and interests. Contact The Law Office of Steven Ellman today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your legal options for pursuing a favorable resolution to your drunk driving charges.