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Atlantic County DWI/DUI Lawyer

Atlantic County DWI/DUI Lawyer

It doesn’t take many drinks to impair your judgment and drive when you shouldn’t. It could also result in charges for drinking and driving in New Jersey. The penalties for DUI can be severe, even for first offenses. If you were arrested for drunk driving in Atlantic County, make it a priority to get a top defense lawyer on your side.
A DUI conviction could affect your driving privileges, freedom, and reputation. Mistakes do not have to define your life, and you have legal rights. Contact an Atlantic County DWI lawyer from the Law

Office of Steven Ellman today for a free consultation.

About DUI and DWI Charges in New Jersey

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) mean the same thing in New Jersey. But unlike many other states, a DWI is not a crime. Driving under the influence is a traffic violation in the Garden State. Tickets for DWI/DUI can be issued to people who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But just because you receive a citation doesn’t mean you should take the case lightly.

New Jersey law says that:

  • DWI charges apply for driving while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
  • Driving with any amount of illegal drugs in your system is an offense.
  • A DWI/DUI conviction can result in jail time, heavy fines, a driver’s license suspension, an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car, and other penalties.

 Blood testing for DWI/DUI can reveal drugs like:

  • Cannabis
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Opioids
  • Benzodiazepines

Some prescription medications, like painkillers and muscle relaxers, may affect your driving ability, too. Even with a valid doctor’s prescription, a police officer could charge you for DUI if you drive under the influence of these medications.

Generally speaking, the higher your BAC, the more severe your charges will be. However, the outcome of a DWI case is always at the court’s discretion. An Atlantic City DWI/DUI defense lawyer can work with prosecutors to negotiate a lighter sentence, no matter whether it is your first charge or a repeated offense.

What Happens After a DUI Stop?

The process of a chargeable offense in Atlantic County generally follows the same steps. They include:

  • Traffic stop – To initiate a traffic stop, a law enforcement officer must have reasonable suspicion that you’re driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Establish probable cause – A police officer may conduct a field sobriety test to assess whether you could be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These field sobriety tests can establish probable cause that you’re driving while intoxicated.
  • Submit to a breathalyzer test – New Jersey has an implied consent law, which means all motorists automatically consent to a breathalyzer test by driving on New Jersey roads. Refusing a breathalyzer can lead to a driver’s license suspension.
  • Potential arrest – If your blood alcohol content level is above the legal limit or if the officer suspects you’re driving under the influence of drugs, they can arrest you, and you could face DWI/DUI charges.

What is the Legal Process After a DWI Arrest?

If you get arrested for DUI, you enter the legal system. Here’s what happens:

  • Charging and booking – The arresting officer will take you to the police station to carry out additional testing, charge you, and book you.
  • Arraignment – Your arraignment occurs in municipal court. If you hire a DWI attorney, they will represent you as you hear the official charges against you. You may not have to appear at your arraignment if you have a lawyer.
  • Discovery – This stage of the proceedings is when your lawyer will examine the evidence against you to determine whether there are flaws in the prosecution’s case. They’ll also work to find evidence in your favor.
  • Pre-trial hearings – There could be multiple hearings before your trial begins. Your lawyer will inform you of any mandatory appearances or other obligations you might have.
  • Suppression hearing – Your DUI attorney may push to have evidence against you suppressed if they find law enforcement violated your rights in some way.
  • Trial – A municipal court judge will hear your case and make a decision. No jury trials take place in New Jersey DWI cases.
  • Sentencing – The court decides your punishment upon conviction.

There are many steps along the way where DUI defense attorneys may challenge your case. Identifying the most effective strategy comes after your lawyer investigates the charges against you.

Consequences of DUI/DWI Convictions

The consequences of a first-time DWI/DUI conviction with a BAC level above 0.08 percent but less than 0.10 percent:

  • Fine – $250 to $400 fine
  • Detainment – 12 to 48 hours in police custody.
  • Jail Time – Up to 30 days in jail for a first-time conviction is 30 days.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID) – IID installed until your driver’s license is restored and three months after in your car.
  • Participation in programs at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) – Minimum of six hours per day for two consecutive days

Convictions for subsequent offenses and higher BAC levels are subject to greater fines, increased jail time, longer IID requirements, community service, and other alcohol and drug assessments at an IDRC.

With any DWI/DUI conviction in New Jersey, drivers also face various auto insurance surcharges along with state fees and fines, including the following:

  • $100 fine for the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
  • $100 fee for a Motor Vehicle Commission restoration
  • $100 fee for the Intoxicated Driving Program
  • $50 fee for the Violent Crimes Compensation Fund
  • $75 fee for the Safe and Secure Community Program

As you can see, a DWI violation can take a heavy toll on your life. Working with an experienced attorney can help you minimize the consequences of an arrest.

How an Atlantic County DWI/DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help

A DUI lawyer is crucial to protecting your legal rights and lessen the potential impact a conviction can have by using several possible defenses, such as:

  • Inaccurate test results – Your lawyer can refute critical evidence from field sobriety tests or a breath test, making it difficult for the state to prove its case. The court could dismiss your BAC test if it was administered incorrectly.
  • Faulty testing equipment – If law enforcement officers used incorrectly calibrated testing equipment or the machinery malfunctioned, your lawyer could move to dismiss the results.
  • Officer background – An Atlantic County DUI lawyer can investigate an officer’s history for potential misconduct.
  • Challenge the initial stop – If there was a lack of reasonable suspicion for the initial traffic stop or a lack of probable cause to justify an arrest, it could severely weaken the state’s case.

DWI lawyers should always provide personalized representation for their clients’ specific circumstances. No single DWI defense applies to everyone, so make sure to hire someone who emphasizes building a tailored defense based on your DWI offense.

Contact an Experienced Atlantic County DUI Lawyer Today

There are many DWI defense attorneys to choose from in Atlantic County. But not all of them will provide the transparent legal support you need during this difficult time. Whether this is your first, second, or third offense, you can count on the Law Office of Steven Ellman to build a solid DWI case and seek the best possible outcome for you.

Our law firm serves clients throughout Atlantic County, including Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township, and other townships along the Jersey Shore. Contact us today for a free case review with a DWI lawyer in Atlantic County, NJ.

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Atlantic County DWI/DUI Lawyer