There are many different types of fines and penalties that you may face for a drunk driving conviction. Generally, repeat DUIs are punished more harshly than first offenses. It is critical to retain a New Jersey DUI lawyer who can make sure that your rights are properly protected and that all of the potential options at your disposal are explored. At the Grimes Law Firm, we may be able to represent you if you are charged with a repeat DUI in Somerset County or the surrounding areas. Penalties for Repeat DUI
Drunk driving charges in New Jersey are known as DWIs (for driving while intoxicated). You are forbidden from driving a motor vehicle if you are impaired by either alcohol or drugs and are unable to drive with a sober person's capacity for careful and safe operation of the vehicle. You can be charged with a per se violation if you have a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher at the time of driving the vehicle.
Any history of DUI convictions can affect your case significantly. The lookback period for prior DWI or DUI convictions that determines penalties in New Jersey is 10 years. In most cases, people who are convicted of a repeat DUI receive a harsher sentence than do first offenders. People who commit multiple DWIs or DUIs may face longer jail terms and license suspensions, as well as heftier fines and surcharges.
First offenders can be exposed to the possibility of 30 days in jail, three months of a mandatory license suspension, fines and surcharges, community service, and the requirement to participate in a prevention program. In many cases, with the help of an attorney, it is possible for a first offender to serve no jail time at all. However, for a second offense DUI conviction that occurs within 10 years of your first offense, you can face a mandatory term of 48 hours and up to 90 days’ imprisonment, a two-year mandatory license suspension, 30 days of community service, fines, and the mandatory use of an ignition interlock device after your license is restored.
For a third offense or any subsequent offense within a 10-year period following the second conviction, you may have your license suspended for 10 years, face imprisonment for 180 days, and be required to serve 90 days of community service. The sentence may include mandatory use of the interlock ignition device and substantial fines and surcharges, including $1,500 each year for three years to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC).
If you do not install the ignition interlock device according to your sentence, your license can be suspended for another year. The ignition interlock device measures your blood alcohol level. You must blow into the device before you are able to start the car, and if your blood alcohol level is higher than a particular level, the car will not start.
Although it can be scary to be pulled over for a DUI in New Jersey, you should not assume that the charges will stick. An experienced defense attorney may be able to raise strong constitutional or procedural arguments. A potential constitutional defense is that the police did not have a reasonable suspicion that a criminal activity had taken place or was taking place when they pulled you over. A reasonable suspicion is something more than a hunch; it needs to involve reasons that can be articulated. If the police do not have a reasonable suspicion that you had committed or were committing a crime or violating a traffic law, it may be possible to file a motion to suppress any evidence of inebriation obtained from the stop. In other cases, it may be possible to challenge the field sobriety tests or the blood or urine tests.Discuss Your Case with a DUI Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a repeat DUI charge in New Jersey, we are ready to investigate the situation and build the strongest available defense. At the Grimes Law Firm, we provide experienced legal representation to defendants facing DUI or criminal charges in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Call us at (908) 371-1066 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.