What Happens If Police Arrest You for DUI?
Many New Jersey motorists don’t take drinking and driving seriously. They think they can have several beers and still drive safely. They may think that as long as they don’t cause an accident, they won’t get caught or face charges.
This would be wrong on both accounts. Alcohol affects the body more than you may think. Even a couple drinks can leave you visibly impaired. If you have been drinking and police catch you driving, you could face DUI charges—and harsh penalties—if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher.
New Jersey is unique in that it does not classify drinking and driving as a crime. Instead of a misdemeanor or felony, it is a traffic violation. Penalties are still harsh nonetheless. An arrest for drinking and driving for the first time can be scary. What happens next? Will you be able to keep your driver’s license?
Penalties for a First Offense
A first-time offender will face multiple penalties. If your BAC is between 0.08 and 0.10, you could face up to 30 days in jail and the state will suspend your driver’s license for three months. The fees for a first offense could total close to $4,000. You must complete an alcohol assessment program. You may or may not have to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
If your BAC is above 0.10 at the time of your arrest for your first DUI offense, the penalties become even stricter. The state will suspend your license at least seven months and you could pay more in fines. You will have to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle if your BAC was at 0.15 or above.
If you are under age 21 and have a BAC over 0.01, you could face DUI charges. The penalties are the same as above, but also include up to 30 days of community service, license suspension for up to 90 days and mandatory Alcohol and Highway Safety Education.
If you are under age 17 and unlicensed at the time of your DUI conviction, when you do get your license, it will take longer to process—up to 90 days. Besides all these penalties, a person convicted of a DUI will face increased insurance premiums and may be unable to seek employment in a field that requires driving, such as a truck driver, bus driver or delivery person.
Get Help from a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
A DUI charge comes with harsh penalties—even if this is your first time driving while drunk. You could lose your license, pay hefty fines and spend time in jail. It’s best to have a criminal defense lawyer on your side to protect your rights, help you understand your obligations and reduce your charges.
If you are facing DUI charges, it is important to work with a New Jersey DUI lawyer who can provide you with a solid defense. Contact The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. today for a consultation.