What to expect after a first time dui in new jersey

first time DUI in Clark, NJ

Being arrested for DUI for the first time can be a scary experience for any person. You may have thought that you were okay to drive, or you may recognize that you made a mistake in getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. You may understandably be worried about the consequences that being charged and convicted for a DUI will have on your personal and professional life; you may not know what you can do to help yourself.

Fortunately, a single mistake does not have to negatively impact the rest of your life. You should know what to expect when you are stopped, arrested, and charged with a DUI, and how a skilled defense attorney can help you avoid the most severe consequences of a conviction.

What to Expect in a Traffic Stop

An individual may be pulled over by a police officer who suspects that the driver is under the influence, or the officer may stop the vehicle for an unrelated traffic violation (like speeding or running a stop sign). A vehicle might also be stopped as part of a DUI checkpoint, where officers pull over certain vehicles (for example, pulling over every fourth vehicle that passes through the checkpoint) to check the drivers for signs of intoxication. 

If a police officer suspects that you are intoxicated, you can expect to be tested either with field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer (portable breath test). If the officer has probable cause to believe you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can expect to be arrested and transported to the police station.

Related Blog: Sobriety Tests: What to Expect

What to Expect at the Police Station

At the police station, you will likely be asked to take a breathalyzer test again on a larger, more sensitive version of the device. The police may also ask you to submit a blood and/or urine sample for drug and alcohol testing. Although it is not a crime in itself to refuse either the breathalyzer test or to submit to blood and urine testing, every driver by law is deemed to have given implied consent by having a valid driver’s license, so simply refusing to take the tests may lead toa summons and the suspension of your driving privileges.

You can expect to be released within a few hours of your arrest, once you have contacted someone to come pick you up or once you are sober. You likely will not be held overnight unless you have also been arrested for another criminal offense in addition to the alcohol offense. However, the police will likely impound your vehicle overnight although you will be allowed to pick it up or send someone to pick it up the following day.

What to Expect Following Your Arrest

When you are arrested for DUI, the police will issue you a ticket for the DUI offense and for any other traffic violations you may have committed. The ticket will list your court date for your arraignment hearing on your DUI charge. If you haven’t already called an attorney while at the police station, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest.

The arraignment is a proceeding at which the court will formally advise you of the charges against you, explain your rights, and ask you for your plea (guilty, not guilty, no contest). If you choose to plead guilty or no contest, the court will likely sentence you on the spot. If you choose to plead not guilty, the court will schedule your trial date. If you choose to plead not guilty, you may also apply for representation by a public defender, if you meet the income qualifications.

Penalties for a First-Time DUI Conviction in New Jersey

If you are convicted for a first-time DUI offense in New Jersey, you may be facing the following penalties:

  • BAC of .08 to .09: Up to 30 days in jail, 12 to 48 hours of Intoxicated Driver Resource Center classes, fine of $250 to $400, insurance surcharge of $1,000 for up to three years, installation of an ignition interlock for three months, and other court fines and fees
  • BAC of .10 to .14: 30 days’ jail time, 12 to 48 hours of Intoxicated Driver Resource Center classes, fine of $300 to $500, insurance surcharge of $1,000 for up to three years, installation of an ignition interlock for six to 12 months, and other court fines and fees
  • BAC of .15 or more: 30 days’ jail time, 12 to 48 hours of Intoxicated Driver Resource Center classes, fine of $300 to $500, insurance surcharge of $1,000 for up to three years, license suspension of four to six months, installation of an ignition interlock for 12 to 18 months, and other court fines and fees

Contact an Experienced Clark DWI Defense Attorney About Your Drunk Driving Charges in New Jersey

Have you been charged with a DWI or DUI offense in New Jersey? A drunk driving conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time, and significant monetary surcharges. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified DWI defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Team Law represent clients charged with drunk driving, breath test refusal, and related offenses in Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 540-1394 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 136 Central Ave. Clark, NJ 07066, in addition to offices located in West New York, Perth Amboy, Edison, Summit, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, and Jersey City.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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