Drunk driving charges, also known as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), are serious offenses with potentially severe consequences. The following is a brief overview of drunk driving charges. For more specific information if you have been charged, contact a New Jersey drunk driving lawyer for legal assistance.
What constitutes drunk driving?
Drunk driving refers to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit varies by state but is typically set at 0.08% in most places. If a driver’s BAC exceeds this limit, they can be charged with drunk driving. However, in some regions, there are lower BAC limits for certain drivers, such as commercial drivers or underage individuals.
What are the potential consequences of a drunk driving conviction?
The consequences of a drunk driving conviction can be severe and vary depending on the state the offense took place in and the specific circumstances of the case. Common penalties may include:
- Fines: Convicted individuals often face substantial fines, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- License suspension: A drunk driving conviction usually leads to a driver’s license suspension for a specified period.
- Probation: Offenders may be placed on probation, requiring them to meet certain conditions like attending alcohol education programs or submitting to random drug tests.
- Ignition interlock device: In some cases, a court may order the installation of an ignition interlock device, which requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before starting the vehicle.
- Jail time: For more severe cases or repeat offenses, jail or prison time may be imposed.
Can I refuse a breathalyzer or sobriety test?
The laws regarding refusing a breathalyzer or sobriety test vary by state. In many places, there are implied consent laws, which mean that by obtaining a driver’s license, you automatically consent to submit to a chemical test if suspected of drunk driving. Refusing a test may result in immediate consequences, such as an automatic driver’s license suspension, even before any court proceedings. It’s essential to understand the laws in your area and the potential repercussions of refusing a test.
Should I hire a lawyer for a drunk driving charge?
Yes, hiring a lawyer is highly recommended if you are facing a drunk driving charge. An experienced DUI attorney can navigate the legal complexities, evaluate the evidence against you, and build a strong defense. They may be able to challenge the validity of the traffic stop, and the accuracy of the breathalyzer or blood test, or negotiate a plea bargain to reduce the charges or penalties.
Drunk driving charges are serious legal matters with potentially life-altering consequences. If you find yourself facing such charges, seeking legal representation is crucial to protect your rights and navigate the legal process effectively. It’s essential to be aware of the laws in your area, understand the consequences of refusing a sobriety test, and take the necessary steps to defend yourself against the charges. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact Rispoli & Borneo P.C. immediately.