Hackensack DUI Attorneys for All Drunk Driving Offenses
Unlike those who are charged with other motor vehicle offenses or criminal offenses, many people are stunned when they are accused of drunk driving. For example, drivers usually know when they are speeding and people usually know when they are committing a criminal act like burglary or armed robbery. In contrast, many folks do not realize that their blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit or that they are really not in a really good condition to drive until it is too late.
New Jersey’s Drunk Driving Laws are Serious
If you have been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, you are facing some of the nation’s most harsh penalties for drunk driving. For example, if your driving privileges are suspended as part of a drunk driving conviction you will not be able to legally drive anywhere for any purpose. That means that not only would you need to make arrangements to have your children taken to their schools and activities, you will not be able to diver yourself to and from your own school or work. Much less will you be able to drive as part of your job.
New Jersey’s unforgiving suspension of driving privileges for drunk drivers is reason enough for you to need to contact an experienced Hackensack DUI attorney if you are facing a possible conviction.
Understanding “DWI Refusals”
In New Jersey, in addition to facing penalties for drunk driving, when you get stopped on suspicion of DWI, you can potentially face additional penalties for what is commonly known as “Refusal,” which is short for Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test.
This is a result of the law of “implied consent.” When you drive on New Jersey’s public roads or even a quasi-public road like a parking lot, by law, you consent to taking a breath test if a police officer has probable cause to believe that you drove while intoxicated. The arresting officer must advise you of certain rights when they ask you to submit to a breath test, and he or she must also advise you of the consequences of refusing to submit to testing. However, under the circumstances, it is common for drivers to misunderstand their obligations (or for the arresting officer to fail to meet his or her legal obligations). As a result, it is also common for individuals who have been charged with DWI to face an additional charge for Refusal.
Since a Refusal is a separate offense from a DWI, it is possible to face penalties for Refusal even if you are not found guilty. But, the fact that these are separate offenses also means that there are separate defenses for Refusals as well. Hackensack DUI attorney Scott Gorman is experienced in representing clients who refused to submit to the breathalyzer during their DWI arrests, and he can make sure you have every possible opportunity to avoid the license suspension, fines and other financial penalties that can result from a Refusal conviction.
Driver’s License Suspension for a New Jersey DWI or DWI Refusal
As you can see from these lists of penalties, one of the consequences of any drunk-driving related offense in Hackensack is a driver’s license suspension. The length of suspension depends upon your DWI record and whether there are any aggravating factors involved in your case, and can range from three months for a first-time DWI to 20 years for a third or subsequent Refusal in a school zone.
If you drive for a living, you also need to be concerned about your commercial driver’s license (CDL). In New Jersey, your CDL will be suspended for one year if you are convicted of a first-time DWI. For a second offense, your CDL will be revoked permanently. This is the case even if your DWI arrest involves the use of your personal vehicle on a Saturday night.
Challenging a DWI Conviction in New Jersey
What if you have already been convicted? If you have already been sentenced for a DWI in Hackensack or elsewhere in New Jersey, it is critical that you speak with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. There are only limited circumstances under which you can challenge a DWI conviction, and the window for doing so is extremely small. With the far-reaching consequences of a DWI conviction (including the potential for enhanced penalties if you are ever charged with another DWI), you owe it to yourself to find out if you are entitled to post-conviction relief. We offer free initial consultations, and we are more than happy to help you understand if you have grounds to challenge your conviction.
Additional Penalties for DWI in New Jersey
The New Jersey legislature had added a multitude of additional penalties for any drunk driving condition. Those convicted of DUI must complete New Jersey’s alcohol education course at an Intoxicated Driver Resources Center. The amount of time that offenders must spend at the IDRC depends upon the number of prior DUI convictions, and in some cases, upon the discretion of the judge. In addition, if the IDRC recommends a program of further treatment to address a substance abuse problem, compliance with such a recommendation will be necessary for the restoration of driving privileges. There are also several mandatory financial assessments that accompany all DUI convictions.
If you have been charged with drunk driving all an experienced Hackensack DUI attorney today to begin the process of defending yourself to reduce or eliminate the serious penalties that accompany a New Jersey DUI conviction.
Why Do I Need a Hackensack DUI Attorney?
Drunk driving cases are frequently more complex than one might think. Let’s begin with the “driving” part of “drunk driving.” Sometimes people are charged with drunk driving even though no police officer saw the person driving. This could happen if a car is stopped alongside a highway. Other times, a person may be in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that is parked along a cub or in a parking lot.
New Jersey’s drunk driving law applies when a person “operates” a motor vehicle. Over fifty years ago, Justice Francis of the Supreme Court of New Jersey wrote that if it were up to him, the term “operate” would be interpreted according to its common usage meaning that the vehicle would need to be driven. However, the High Court elected not to interpret the term that way. The result is that operation can be proven with evidence that the accused intended to operate the vehicle at issue while in intoxicated state. Intent to operate can depend on many factors such as whether the engine was running, whether the heat or air conditioning was on and whether the driver’s seat was reclined. In other cases, recent operation may be proved by evidence relating to the particular circumstances of the case such as where the vehicle was spotted and whether the hood was still warm. As you can see, even what would seem to be a simple element to prove, operation of a motor vehicle, can depend on many factors, which is why it is critical to have a knowledgeable Hackensack DUI Attorney in your corner.
Call Scott Gorman, an experienced Hackensack DWI attorney today to begin defending yourself against the your DUI.