Joseph A. Lombardo
If you drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Haddonfield, you might be subject to criminal charges and penalties. This offense is referred to as driving while intoxicated, or DWI, in New Jersey.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is considered a serious offense by law enforcement and the courts, as it poses a significant risk to public safety. Often, people get injured or even lose their lives due to drunk driving accidents. The severity of your charges and penalties may depend on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of driving and if you have previous DWI convictions. It is common for people to make poor decisions under the influence of alcohol, and driving while intoxicated is one of them. If you are facing a DWI charge, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a Haddonfield DWI attorney as soon as possible.
Contact the Lombardo Law Group, LLC today at (609) 445-4300 for a free case evaluation with our experienced DWI defense attorneys.
How DWI and DUI are Defined in Haddonfield, NJ
A lot of individuals tend to use the terms “driving under the influence” and “driving while intoxicated” interchangeably, but in Haddonfield, these are two distinct charges. Each charge has a unique definition under the law and requires specific proof in court. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated, and it pertains to cases where a person is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol.
If a driver is caught driving under the influence of drugs or any other intoxicating substances, like prescription medication, they may face charges of DUI. It is worth noting that DUI charges can also be applied to the use of alcohol, as it is a type of intoxicating substance.
Under N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50, the definition of intoxicating substances is extensive. The statute states that individuals can face DWI charges if they are under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, hallucinogens, or habit-forming drugs such as opioids. However, working with our DWI defense attorneys is essential, regardless of the crime you are charged with. The legal strategies employed in your case will depend greatly on whether you are facing DUI or DWI charges. Although these cases are similar, the required defenses are not.
Consequences for DWI and DUI Charges in Haddonfield, NJ
In Haddonfield and throughout New Jersey, the charges and penalties for DUIs and DWIs are quite similar. If you are a first-time offender, it may be possible to argue mitigating circumstances to lessen your charges. However, if you have previous DUI or DWI convictions, you may face more severe consequences, including incarceration.
Consequences for First-Time Offenses
The consequences of a first-time offense for driving under the influence in New Jersey are determined by the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of being stopped. Like many other states, the legal BAC limit in New Jersey is 0.08%. If a driver is caught with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they will be charged with DUI. In the case of a first offense with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.10%, the driver will most likely receive a fine ranging from $250 to $400. However, a judge may still impose a sentence of up to 30 days in jail. Additionally, it is highly probable that the driver will lose their driving license.
If a driver is found guilty of having a BAC higher than 0.10%, the fines may range from $300 to $500. Additional consequences may involve incarceration and the installation of an interlock ignition device to prevent the operation of the vehicle if alcohol has been consumed. The driver’s license could also be suspended for several months. If a driver’s BAC is 0.15% or more, they could face all the aforementioned penalties, along with a license suspension of four to six months.
Individuals who are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs will face more severe penalties. For first-time DUI convictions involving drugs, there is a minimum license suspension of seven months, with the possibility of up to a year. In addition, the defendant may face jail time and hefty fines.
Everyone makes mistakes, and if this is your first DUI offense, there may have been contributing circumstances. Although it is never justifiable, it is possible to argue for mitigating circumstances to potentially reduce the consequences of your actions.
Consequences for Multiple Offenses
Repeated DUI convictions can lead to harsher punishments. The court has little tolerance for reckless behavior and can sentence offenders up to 90 days in jail for a second DUI or DWI conviction. Additionally, you may be required to pay fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 and face license suspension for one to two years. Avoiding multiple DUI convictions is crucial to avoid these consequences.
If someone is convicted of more than two DUIs, the consequences will be more severe. The punishment may include a minimum fine of $1,000, an eight-year suspension of their license, and a possible jail sentence of up to six months.
Acknowledging a severe issue following several DUI arrests could greatly benefit your circumstances. In some cases, the prosecution and court may consider reducing your sentence to 90 days in jail if you commit to participating in an appropriate program for alcohol or drug rehabilitation.
Consequences for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
When the police ask you to take a breathalyzer test, refusing to do so can result in penalties. In Haddonfield, all drivers are considered to have given implicit consent to take a breathalyzer test when they obtain a driver’s license. Therefore, if the police request that you take the test, it is mandatory that you comply. Failure to do so may lead to undesirable consequences.
There is a common misconception that refusing a breathalyzer test can help avoid the consequences of a DUI charge. Unfortunately, this is not true. In fact, refusing to take the test can lead to penalties that are just as severe as those in a DUI case. Additionally, refusing the test leaves little room for argument, and the penalties are likely to be automatically applied. These penalties can include a license suspension for up to seven months and fines ranging from $300 to $500.
Steps to Keep in Mind If You Are Arrested in Haddonfield, NJ
If you find yourself arrested and charged with DWI or DUI in Haddonfield, it can greatly impact your life. That is why it is crucial to be aware of what actions to take. Firstly, it is essential to stay silent until you have consulted with a lawyer. Additionally, we recommend gathering the names of the officers involved in your case so that our firm can investigate them thoroughly.
If you are arrested in Haddonfield, it is your right to remain silent and decline to answer any questions. It is important to avoid making any statements or admitting guilt to law enforcement officers until you have consulted with an attorney. Any communication with the police prior to speaking with an attorney or signing anything could potentially be used against you in court proceedings or by the judge during a trial. It is not mandatory to respond to the police’s inquiries while in custody. However, some individuals feel obligated to do so.
It is important to maintain politeness when in police custody, yet you are not obligated to respond to any inquiries without the presence of a legal representative. If the authorities attempt to interrogate you, kindly inform them that you will only provide answers after consulting with an attorney.
Identify Your Arresting Officers
If you are unsure about the officer who arrested you, politely request their badge numbers and names. It is crucial to take note of this information as it may come in handy in case of any disputes regarding the validity of the arrest or search. Moreover, we will recommend conducting an investigation on your arresting officers to determine if they have had any prior issues that could affect your case. It is all right if you did not get the name of the arresting officer. You can find their name and badge number in the arrest report, which we can assist you in acquiring a copy of.
Speak to Our Attorneys
In the event of an arrest in Haddonfield, it is crucial to take prompt action to safeguard your rights. It is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of our attorneys as soon as possible. This will greatly improve your chances of mounting a solid defense against any criminal charges brought against you.
Our team can provide you with valuable guidance and support throughout every step of the criminal process. We can help you understand your legal rights and options, and we will represent you during important procedures such as lineups, blood tests, and polygraph exams. Our goal is to help you avoid being convicted and to ensure that any penalties you may face are reasonable and just. Additionally, all communication from the prosecutor or law enforcement can be directed to our office.
Understanding the Criminal Justice Process in Haddonfield, NJ
If you are facing DWI or DUI charges in Haddonfield, you may be unfamiliar with the legal process of prosecuting a crime. This can be especially daunting if it is your first time interacting with the criminal justice system. It can be even more challenging if you are facing these difficulties alone. However, our criminal defense lawyers are ready to support you and guide you through every stage of your case to help you achieve the most equitable outcome possible.
Arrest and Criminal Charges
Although not everyone may have a thorough understanding of the prosecutorial process, it is generally known that a criminal case usually commences with an arrest. Arrests can result from various circumstances, with one of the most common being “sight” arrests, where law enforcement witnesses a crime while on patrol and apprehends the perpetrator on the spot. A sight arrest is what typically happens in situations such as a DWI or DUI stop.
When being questioned by police, it is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present. These are called your Miranda rights, and you should take full advantage of them. Your silence cannot be used against you in court, but anything you say can potentially be used as evidence by law enforcement.
Once charged with a crime, the booking process will commence. During this process, your biographical information will be collected, and you will be placed in a local jail. Following this, you will have an initial hearing with a bail judge, which will be your first chance to enter a plea of guilty or innocent. The bail judge will also review your case to determine the appropriate amount for bail if granted.
When deciding whether to grant bail, judges take into account various factors. If you have a lengthy criminal record or are deemed a threat to society, your bail may be high or denied altogether. Additionally, bail may be denied if there is a high risk of the defendant fleeing the country. If bail is granted, the defendant is required to pay a percentage of the bail amount before being released.
The next step in a Haddonfield criminal case is the pretrial hearing. The aim of these conferences is to ensure that the defendant understands the charges filed against them and the potential punishment they may face if found guilty. At this point, it is important to evaluate whether accepting a plea deal, if offered, is worthwhile. The court may also inquire about any declined offers.
Seeking assistance from our criminal defense lawyers can greatly influence the course of your case. In situations where there is insufficient evidence, or your rights have been violated, we can advocate for the dismissal of your case or the exclusion of evidence from being used in the state’s prosecution. This is incredibly important in DWI or DUI cases, as any number of decisions made by the police might be questioned. If the stop itself was illegal, we could argue to have the entire case thrown out.
If a plea agreement is not reached or the case is not dismissed during a pretrial motion hearing, a criminal trial will be necessary. It will be the state’s responsibility to provide evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime you were accused of.
Based on our experience, it is often not advisable to testify in your own defense. In a DWI or DUI case, our team will skillfully cross-examine the state’s witnesses and develop a defense that we will present during closing arguments. This is often the best strategy to ensure that the prosecutor does not use your own words against you are makes you appear more guilty than you are.
Our Haddonfield DWI Defense Attorneys Can Help
For a free review of your case with our DWI defense lawyers, call the Lombardo Law Group, LLC at (609) 445-4300.
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