Westmont DUI Attorney
Defending Your Rights & Driving Privileges
Facing drunk driving charges is a frightening and overwhelming experience. In addition to fines and penalties, a DUI conviction could result in the loss of your driver’s license, insurance surcharges, points on your license, registration suspension, and even incarceration. Further still, if your job requires any type of driving, you may find yourself unemployed after being convicted of drunk driving.
Hiring an experienced Westmont DUI attorney to help you navigate the complexities of New Jersey’s drunk driving statutes will ensure that you present an airtight defense to counter the charges filed against you. Attorney Jill Cohen has defended many DWI cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has litigated in numerous municipal courts.
The Facts Behind New Jersey’s Harsh DUI/DWI Laws
Under New Jersey state law, an individual may face charges of DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 and may face serious breathalyzer test refusal charges under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50a. New Jersey does not make any distinction between DUI and DWI (driving while intoxicated). You can also be charged even if you are under the influence of prescribed drugs. Our team has considerable knowledge about strategies to successfully fight DUI charges.
At The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen, we understand that being charged with drunk driving can be scary because the penalties are often severe. To illustrate the severity of these charges, all DUI/DWI convictions are permanently recorded at the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles, which imposes a mandatory insurance surcharge (between $3,000 and $5,000) on drivers with drunk driving convictions. The amount you must pay for a surcharge will depend on how many prior DUI or DWI convictions you have had.
We Are Ready to Fiercely Protect Your Constitutional Rights
One common defense strategy in DUI cases is to argue that the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated. The police cannot just stop anyone for a traffic violation – and there must be significant proof that you were driving drunk. Mere suspicion and guesses are not enough to make an arrest. The police can only arrest you based on a significant amount of evidence of intoxication. Further, they are only permitted to arrest you if they have “probable cause.”
Many DWI cases and other driving offenses are successfully defended by hearings challenging the validity of the arrest. Attorney Jill Cohen’s years of experience in New Jersey criminal law and traffic defense make her eminently qualified to handle any type of DUI case in municipal courts throughout the state.
Put Our Experience to Work for You
Attorney Jill Cohen is extremely familiar with DUI and DWI charges. As a former criminal prosecutor, she understands the techniques other prosecutors use and knows how she can better defend her clients against them in the court of law. Her experiences working as a prosecutor and for a law firm exclusively devoted to DUI defense has given her all the skills and tools needed to help you with your case.
Frequently Asked Questions about DUI/DWI Charges
At The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen, we understand how overwhelming it is to be arrested and charged with a crime. Whether this is your first DUI arrest or your fifth, you deserve to be informed of your rights and options moving forward. Below, we have answered questions we commonly receive regarding DUI charges and our defense services.
What does it take for a prosecutor to succeed in obtaining a DUI conviction?
To convict a driver of drunk driving, prosecutors must present proof of intoxication. Proof can be obtained through a machine registering BAC (blood alcohol content), as well as field sobriety test results or confessions.
Can the police force me to take breath, urine, or blood tests?
New Jersey has enacted an implied consent law that requires drivers suspected of driving under the influence to take breath tests to determine BAC. Refusing to take the breath test can result in significant penalties. If you are charged with refusal of a breath test, our Westmont DUI lawyer can defend you against those charges as well as your DUI charge.
The law is different if you had urine tested or blood drawn. It is not mandatory in New Jersey to submit willingly to a urine or blood analysis. If you are forced to give urine or blood, we can use that in an effort to get your DUI charges dismissed.
What are some defense strategies Attorney Jill Cohen may employ on my behalf?
It’s possible to prove the breathalyzer test was not operating properly. The officer who gave you the breath test may not have been qualified to do so. Your traffic stop may have violated your constitutional rights. These are just some of the defense strategies we can use on your behalf.
Can police impound my car if I’m charged with DUI/DWI?
Yes. New Jersey has enacted “John’s Law,” which permits law enforcement officers to impound the car of a drunk driver. Individuals who drive under the influence or drive while intoxicated also may face related charges such as driving or riding with an open container, driving with a DUI suspension, and driving while possessing drugs.
Are there special DUI laws in New Jersey that apply to juveniles and young adults under the age of 21?
Yes. Drivers under the age of 21 can be prosecuted if they are driving with a BAC of .01%. The penalties for drivers under 21 – even with a BAC as low as .01% – can include a 30-90 day license suspension and 15-30 days of community service.
What are the penalties associated with a first DWI conviction?
First-time offenders who have a BAC between .08% and .10% can expect to pay a fine of between $250 and $400. Convicted first-time offenders will also be detained for up to 48 hours in a manner set forth by the program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). The court also has the discretion to sentence first-time offenders to imprisonment of up to 30 days and license suspension for up to a year. If the DWI offense occurred near a school, there may be additional penalties.
First-time offenders who have a BAC over .10% and drivers operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs face stricter penalties, including fines of between $300 and $500, detention time, and loss of driving privileges between seven months and one year, as well as potential jail time of up to 30 days.
What are the penalties associated with a second DUI conviction?
Individuals convicted of a second DUI/DWI offense face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. Second-time offenders will also be required to complete 30 days of mandatory community service and face mandatory jail time (ranging from 48 hours to 90 days). Drivers convicted a second time lose their driving privileges for two years and must install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.
Our firm successfully defends clients against second-offense DWI charges by appealing and moving to have earlier convictions overturned. Her knowledge of all indictable offenses, her certification in criminal trial law, and her education in trial advocacy make her the right person to call about your DWI charges.
What are the penalties associated with a third or subsequent DWI conviction?
Drivers convicted of a drunk driving offense three or more times in New Jersey will face a fine of $1,000 and mandatory imprisonment for at least six months. Repeat offenders will lose their driving privileges for 10 years and will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Many times, the sentence can be served at an approved inpatient treatment center rather than jail.
Is it possible to appeal a DUI conviction?
Yes. Motions for post-conviction relief apply to DUI charges, as well as to other charges in municipal and superior courts. Contact us about filing an appeal or a motion for post-conviction relief as soon as possible.
Can I get my DWI expunged?
In New Jersey, drunk driving is not considered a criminal offense. It is a traffic offense that is handled by local traffic and municipal courts where you were arrested and charged. Only certain criminal convictions can be expunged in New Jersey. Therefore, you won’t be able to clear your record of a DWI conviction.
Do you have more questions about your DUI charges or how The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen can help? Call us at (856) 351-5115 today.
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