If there weren’t already a number of reasons not to drink and drive, New Jersey now has a new one. If you have been convicted of DWI/DUI on multiple occasions in New Jersey, you will have a mandatory license suspension. Further, if you drive while your license in suspended, you are more than likely going to jail, with no chance of a diversionary program.
In early February, New Jersey Judge Michael Haas determined that defendants who plead guilty to or are convicted of driving while suspended after multiple DWIs must serve a minimum 180 days in jail without parole and will not be granted house arrest or other alternative sentences.
Statistics regarding DWI are astounding in 2012 alone, a total of 25,697 were arrested while driving under the influence. Though individuals that have multiple DWIs on their record lose their license, it is common that they continue to drive and, more often than not, they continue driving and receive more DWIs. Previous to Judge Haas’ ruling, anyone convicted of driving with a suspended license following multiple DWI convictions in NJ could choose an alternative sentencing program. Though some oppose the ruling, Haas insists that the alternatives will not protect the public from the repeat offenders as properly as incarceration will.
This makes it more important than ever that someone charged with DWI in New Jersey attempt to fight the charges. There are many loop holes in the law that an experienced attorney can use that will get charges reduced or even dismissed. He can argue that field sobriety tests were administered properly or that the person who gave you the breath test wasn’t authorized to do so.
Further, there are options a skilled criminal defense lawyer can argue that will prevent a DWI charge from categorized as “multiple.”
- If your first DWI is still pending while you get a second charge, it’s possible to ask the judge to have the penalties – including license suspensions – run concurrently.
- If you get charged with driving while intoxicated in another state, a good lawyer may be able to convince a court that the charge doesn’t meet the requirements of New Jersey DUI laws.
- Getting charged and convicted of refusing to take a breath test may not be considered a first offense if you are charged with a second DWI offense. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can argue this point on your behalf.
Additionally, if you were not represented by an attorney during your first DWI court appearance, a seasoned driving while intoxicated lawyer like John W. Tumelty can ask the court to reduce the current charges to a first offense DWI. Contact Mr. Tumelty for a free consultation about your charges as soon as possible.