Facing a drunk driving charge in South Jersey is often frightening and overwhelming. In addition to resulting in monetary fines and penalties, a DUI/DWI conviction could result in the loss of your driver’s license, insurance surcharges, motor vehicle points, suspension of registration and even incarceration. Further, if your job requires any type of driving, you may find yourself unemployed after being convicted of drunk driving.
Hiring an experienced New Jersey DUI / DWI attorney to help you navigate the complexities of New Jersey’s drunk driving statutes will ensure that you present the best possible defense to counter the charges filed against you. While in private practice, Jill Cohen, Esq., worked with one of the best DUI attorneys in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and litigated in municipal courts in townships and cities throughout the State. Her experiences working for a law firm that is exclusively devoted to DUI defense has given her all of the necessary tools to beat a drunk driving charge. Contact her Haddonfield, NJ law firm today for a free consultation about your charges.
Under New Jersey 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 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 consuming prescribed drugs. Ms. Cohen has considerable knowledge about strategies to successfully fight DUI charges.
At the Law Offices of Jill R. Cohen, we understand that being charged with drunk driving can be scary because the penalties are often severe. For example, 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.
Q: What does it take for a prosecutor to succeed in obtaining a DUI conviction?
A: To convict a driver of drunk driving, NJ prosecutors must present proof of intoxication through the use of a machine registering BAC (blood alcohol content), as well as field sobriety test results or confessions.
Q: Can the police force me to take breath, urine or blood tests in an effort to gather evidence on me?
New Jersey has enacted an implied consent law which requires drivers suspected of driving under the influence to take breath tests to determine BAC or face significant penalties. If you are charged with refusal of a breath test, Ms. Cohen 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, Ms. Cohen can use that in an effort to get your charges dismissed.
Q: What are some defense strategies Ms. Cohen may employ on my behalf?
A: 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 Ms. Cohen can use on your behalf.
With over 30 years of experience, Camden County criminal defense lawyer Jill R. Cohen, Esq., has successfully challenged the reliability and validity of these tests, including the proper operation of breathalyzer machines, the qualifications of the machine operators and the experience of the police.
Q: 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.
Q: Are there special DUI laws that apply to juveniles and young adults under the age of 21?
A: Yes. Drivers under the age of 21 will face prosecution if they are driving with a BAC of .01 percent. The penalties for drivers under 21, even with a BAC as low as .01 percent, can include a 30-90 day license suspension and 15-30 days of community service.
Q: What are the penalties associated with a first DWI conviction?
A: First-time offenders who have a BAC between .08 percent and .10 percent 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 percent 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 for a period of between seven months and one year, as well as potential jail time of up to 30 days.
Q: What are the penalties associated with a second DUI conviction?
A: Individuals convicted of a second DUI/DWI offense in New Jersey 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.
Ms. Cohen successfully defends against second offense DWIs 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.
Q: What are the penalties associated with a third or subsequent DWI conviction?
Drivers convicted of a drunk driving offense three or more times 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.
Jill Cohen knows there are “tricks” to have a third offense DWI treated as a second offense DWI. It is important to understand the laws as well as Ms. Cohen does.
Q: Is it possible to appeal a DUI conviction?
A: Yes. Motions for post-conviction relief apply to DUI charges as well as other charges in municipal and superior courts. Contact Ms. Cohen about filing an appeal or a motion for post-conviction relief as soon as possible.
Q: Can I get my DWI expunged?
A: In the State of New Jersey, drunk driving, as serious a charge as it is, 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. For this reason, it is imperative that you contact Jill Cohen and put her expertise fighting DUI charges in New Jersey to work for you.
Many times, DUI offenses are defended based on a violation of your constitutional rights. The police cannot just stop anyone for a traffic violation and there must be significant proof that you are 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 of these types of DWI cases, and other driving offenses, are successfully defended by hearings challenging the validity of the arrest. Ms. Cohen’s years of experience in criminal law make her eminently qualified to handle any cases in municipal courts throughout New Jersey.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drunk driving offense, you may be facing the possibility of significant monetary fines and jail time. Defending Refusals, underage drinking, and allowing an intoxicated driver to drive is part of defending DUI offenses that Ms. Cohen can handle for you. She understands that dealing with a drunk driving charge places stress on individuals and their families. Do not attempt to fight DUI/DWI charges alone. Contact the Law Office of Jill R. Cohen today for experienced drunk driving defense.
As an assistant prosecutor Ms. Cohen litigated complex motions for the State, was an acting Camden City Municipal Prosecutor, and indicted over 800 cases before the Camden County Grand Jury. Ms. Cohen handled hundreds of indictable/felony and juvenile cases and tried numerous jury trials, in areas such as drug possession and distribution, school zone violations, domestic violence, aggravated assault, fraud, burglary, robbery, child sexual assault, child physical abuse, homicides, attempted murder and other crimes of magnitude.
With over 30 years in the criminal justice system, Ms. Cohen has developed a great working relationship with members of the local justice system. Ms. Cohen uses her vast experience to get her clients the best possible results.
Ms. Cohen leaves no stones unturned when she builds aggressive defense strategies designed to obtain the best possible outcome for her clients.
The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Attorney Certification Program is designed to help the public make sound and informed choices when deciding to hire an attorney. While there are over 60,000 practicing attorneys in the state of New Jersey, fewer than 250 New Jersey lawyers have been recognized by the NJ Supreme Court as Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys. Camden County criminal lawyer Jill Cohen has been recognized as an NJ Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney every year since 2008. To become a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney, Ms. Cohen received recommendations from her peers and judges throughout South Jersey.
Regardless of the incidents that led up to your arrest, every resident of New Jersey has the constitutional right to a fair trial. If you have been arrested or are being investigated, you need sound legal advice. Contact me today.