Joining the rest of the country, New Jersey takes drunk driving seriously and issues harsh penalties for those that choose to drink and drive. Penalties for drunk driving in New Jersey include jail time, a suspended driver’s license, significant fines, the installation of an ignition interlock device, and more. A conviction for drunk driving in New Jersey may result in loss of employment, a damaged reputation, and more expensive insurance rates.
So, does a police officer instantly take you to jail the second you are arrested for drunk driving in New Jersey?
You might be surprised to learn that the answer is no. Though you generally must go to the police station for booking and processing, you do not necessarily have to go straight to jail and spend the night. In fact, in most cases, a driver arrested for driving while intoxicated is not required to post bail, because under New Jersey law, driving while intoxicated is a traffic offense.
If you have been convicted of a crime in addition to driving while intoxicated, however, you likely must go to jail.
Once you are released from the police station or the jail, your first appearance is scheduled. During your first appearance, you and your attorney stand before a judge and listen to the judge inform you of your charges and their possible penalties. In most cases, the first appearance happens rather quickly, within a month or so of the arrest.
In most cases, a first-time offender, even if convicted, does not have to go to jail. Though a jail sentence of up to 30 days is certainly possible for a first offense, judges rarely impose such a sentence.
Second-time offenders must serve a jail sentence of at least 48 hours, however. If the court deems it appropriate, the sentence may last up to 90 days. For third-time offenders, a sentence of 180 days is required. If the offender has completed an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program, however, the sentence may be reduced by the length of that program. The reduction may not exceed 90 days, however.
Of course, to avoid jail time or reduce the amount of time you spend in jail, it is important to hire a New Jersey criminal defense attorney who is able to build a strong defense in your case. Criminal defense attorneys are trained to identify weaknesses in your case and argue that you should not face certain charges or penalties. For example, if the Breathalyzer test was not administered properly, your attorney argues that your drunk driving charges should be dismissed.
To learn about your legal options in a free consultation, call our New Jersey DUI lawyers
The New Jersey DUI attorneys at Lomurro Law have successfully had the driving under the influence charges of many clients reduced or dismissed. To schedule a free consultation, call 732-482-9285 or contact us online.