If you have been arrested for DUI in New Jersey, you are likely quite scared, upset and worried about what the offense means to your future.
One of the most difficult aspects of any criminal charge is the fear of what you do not know. But with preparation, support and guidance you can understand your situation and what penalties you may be facing. As the saying goes, it can be wise to hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.
Being informed about the potential consequences of a DUI conviction can help you appreciate the situation you are in and the importance of defending yourself.
Generally speaking, DUI penalties are less severe for first-time offenders, people with between 0.08 and 0.10 percent blood alcohol concentration, and drivers who do not cause an accident. Typically, a person in this situation could:
- Lose a license for three months
- Spend up to 30 days in jail
- Attend up to 48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Program
- Pay roughly $2,000 in fines, surcharges and fees
However, in cases when a driver is a repeat offender and/or has a blood alcohol greater than 0.10 percent, the consequences can be much more severe.
- Licenses can be lost for between seven months and 10 years
- Prison can be ordered for between 30 days and 180 days
- Community service of up to 90 days could be ordered
- Fines and fees could top $6,000
- Ignition interlock devices will be required for a period of time
In general, most people will be looking at penalties somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Your situation will depend heavily on the unique details of your case, which you can discuss with your attorney. In some cases, you can work to negotiate reduced penalties or challenge the charges in an effort to have them dismissed altogether.
There is no doubt that DUI charges and penalties can be very intimidating and overwhelming for any person facing this situation. However, arming yourself with information about your rights and legal options can go a long way in alleviating some of your concerns and helping you prepare for the future.
Source: New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, “DUI: Driving Under the Influence,” accessed on Jan. 22, 2015