Middlesex County DUI Lawyer

Law enforcement officials in Middlesex County are not lenient when they suspect a driver may be driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In fact, in some instances, they may charge not only the driver but the passenger in a vehicle as well. However, it is important to realize that all drivers have legal rights and it is necessary to act to protect those rights.

A DWI or DUI is a serious offense, but a Middlesex County DUI lawyer knows that there are many strategies that can be used successfully to fight the charges. So, if you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated, speak to a skilled DUI attorney who can explain the implications of the charges and your options going forward.

The Basics of a Local DUI Offense

New Jersey statute §39:4-50 describes the basic offense of "driving while intoxicated" as occurring in four different situations. This provision is violated when someone operates a motor vehicle while that person is "under the influence" of alcohol or drugs, or when that person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.

The provision is also violated if another individual who owns or controls the vehicle but is not driving it allows someone else to operate the vehicle either while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with a BAC of .08 percent or more. In other words, drivers who know they had too much to drink and hand over their keys to someone else to drive home may still be found guilty of a DWI offense if the police believe the other person should not be driving either.

The Penalties Are Based on History

There are several factors that affect the severity of penalties assessed in a DWI case. One of the most significant is the driver's history. The statute mandates that the penalties increase substantially for subsequent violations, even if they occur in other jurisdictions. (See, e.g. N.J. Rev. Stat. §39:4-50(a)(3).) For a first offense, a driver faces:

  • A fine between $250 and $400      
  • Incarceration for up to 30 days      
  • Detainment for 12 to 48 hours in classes as required by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center     
  • Loss of driving privileges for three months     
  • The possibility of interlock ignition requirements

In addition, convicted drivers face a substantial increase in insurance premiums, other costs, and an assessment for alcohol or substance abuse. For a second offense, the potential fine increases up to $1,000, the term of imprisonment can extend to 90 days, the driver is required to perform 30 hours of community service, and the driver loses driving privileges for two years.

If a driver is convicted of three or more violations in a ten-year period, the penalties increase still further. For instance, the loss of driving privileges increases to ten years.

Other Factors That Increase the Penalties

In addition to subsequent offenses, penalties for DUI offenses may also be increased by other aspects of the situation. For instance, if the driver was found to have a BAC of .10 percent or higher or if the driver is under the influence of a "narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug," then the maximum fines increase and the term of license suspension is substantially longer.

The penalties are also likely to increase if the offense occurs on school property or in a school crossing, if the driver already has a suspended license, or if any injuries result while a driver is operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A Middlesex County DUI lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

A Middlesex County DUI Attorney Can Be an Ally

A conviction for driving while intoxicated carries costly and long-reaching consequences. However, there are several avenues for challenging a finding that a driver was operating with a particular BAC or under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol.

If you are facing DWI or DUI charges, you owe it to yourself to talk to a Middlesex County DUI lawyer who knows how local courts handle DUI cases with circumstances similar to yours. An experienced DWI attorney will know how to create the best defensive strategy that can lead to the optimum outcome in your case. Call now for a free consultation to learn what they can do for you.