You need to be at least 21 years old to buy or consume alcoholic drinks like beer or liquor in New Jersey. It is illegal to drive if you are 21 or older and have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or above. This is the standard across the United States. If you are caught drunk driving, you face a number of different penalties. People under the age of 21 who are caught driving with any alcohol in their system face penalties upon a conviction. If you have been charged with a first-time DUI, you should retain experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer Raymond A. Grimes to help you fight the charges.First-Time DUI
In New Jersey, there are laws prohibiting drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs. While .08% BAC is the legal standard in New Jersey, as in other states, it is fairly difficult to predict how many drinks it will take to get to this limit. There are many variables that might affect your BAC, including body weight, how much time has passed between drinks, your sex, whether you have eaten, and any medications or medical conditions that you have.
If you are convicted of drinking and driving in New Jersey with a BAC between .08% and .10%, you face the potential of fines, a suspended license, jail time, and time in an intoxicated driver resource center. The fines may be between $250 and $400. The license suspension may be up to three months, and you may face up to 30 days in jail. You may also need to pay a $1,000 automobile insurance surcharge for the following three years. If your BAC is 0.10% or higher, or you are under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug while driving, you face a fine of up to $500, up to 30 days’ imprisonment, up to one year of a license suspension, at least six hours a day for two consecutive days at an intoxicated driver resource center, and other penalties.
Unlike in some states, driving while intoxicated is a motor vehicle offense in New Jersey. Typically, it is tried in municipal court for a first offense not involving injuries or death. However, if you injured or killed someone else in a collision as a result of alleged drunk driving, you will likely face criminal charges in addition to motor vehicle charges.
You should not assume that a conviction is inevitable. There may be procedural flaws or violations of your rights that provide a basis to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. For example, to pull you over for a suspected DUI, the police must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The reasonable suspicion must be based on facts; it cannot be a mere hunch.
For example, if you were swerving through traffic and hitting the brakes arbitrarily, the officer might point to that behavior as a basis for a reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence. However, if the officer simply had a feeling that you were under the influence from looking at your face, it is unlikely that they had a reasonable suspicion. In that case, you may be able to suppress evidence from the stop.
If you are able to show the prosecution that its case is not very strong, you may be able to plead the charges down to a "wet reckless." This is a conviction of reckless driving that involves alcohol, which is less serious than a charge of driving while intoxicated. If you can get evidence suppressed, moreover, you may be able to get the prosecution to drop the charges altogether. In some cases, a plea deal or a dismissal of the charges may not be easily forthcoming, and in those cases, we are ready to advocate for you at trial.Consult a Skillful DUI Lawyer to Fight a Charge in New Jersey
If you are concerned about a first-time DUI charge, you should retain an experienced attorney. At the Grimes Law Firm, Attorney Raymond A. Grimes represents people in Somerset County and Neshanic Station, as well as other communities in New Jersey and throughout the tri-state area. Contact us online or at (908) 371-1066 to schedule a free consultation with a DUI or criminal defense lawyer.