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Third DUI Charge in NJ

Are you facing your third charge of driving under the influence (DUI) or while intoxicated (DWI)? New Jersey law imposes enhanced penalties for individuals convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense within 10 years of two prior convictions. A third DUI conviction can have significant consequences on your life, including jail time, suspension of driving privileges, and financial penalties.

Don’t leave your future and reputation to chance. Turn to New Jersey DUI defense lawyer Steven Ellman for the legal representation you need to protect your rights and fight the charges against you.

For over 35 years, DUI attorney Steven Ellman has dedicated his career to vigorously and successfully advocating for his clients. His practice, the Law Office of Steven Ellman, helps people facing DUI charges resolve their legal matters promptly and favorably so they can get back to their lives as soon as possible.

Steven Ellman has a proven reputation for treating clients with respect and compassion during difficult and stressful times. He can provide you with honest, straightforward advice about your legal options so that you are empowered and informed to make decisions in your best interests. Steven Ellman will strive to give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you and your case are in knowledgeable, skilled hands.

Are you charged with a third DUI in New Jersey? Then reach out to the Law Office of Steven Ellman for a free initial case evaluation to discuss your legal options. Let Steven Ellman advocate for you to secure a favorable resolution to your charges.

What Are the New Jersey DUI Laws?

New Jersey’s DUI law is contained in §39:4-50 of the New Jersey Statutes. The law prohibits a driver from operating a motor vehicle while impaired due to intoxicating liquor or a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug. A motorist may also be charged with DUI for driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. The statute also makes it illegal for a person to allow an intoxicated driver to operate a vehicle.

Specific drivers have even stricter BAC limits. For example, commercial drivers may not operate a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or more. Drivers under 21 must follow New Jersey’s zero-tolerance policy for underage drunk driving, which prohibits a motorist under 21 from operating a motor vehicle with any detectable alcohol content in their system.

New Jersey also has an implied consent law in New Jersey Statutes §39:40-50.2, which states that any driver who operates a motor vehicle on a public road is deemed to have given consent to a breath alcohol test following their DUI arrest. While no breath, blood, or urine sample can be forcibly taken from a driver arrested for DUI, drivers who refuse to submit to testing following arrest may face administrative consequences such as a driver’s license suspension.

What Are Common Charges for a Third DUI in New Jersey?

A third DUI offense means a DUI charge imposed after two prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years. Circumstances that can lead to a DUI charge in New Jersey include:

  • Having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more
  • Having a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or more while operating a commercial vehicle
  • Having detectable alcohol in the bloodstream as a driver under the age of 21
  • Having detectable narcotic or hallucinogenic drugs in one’s system
  • Being impaired by alcohol or drugs to the extent that one cannot safely operate a motor vehicle

Is a Third Offense DUI a Felony in New Jersey?

New Jersey law considers DUI a traffic violation, not a criminal offense. However, certain aggravating factors during a third DUI offense can result in the imposition of criminal charges. These include:

  • DUI with a driver’s license suspended or revoked for a prior DUI conviction
  • Causing an accident resulting in serious bodily injury
  • Causing an accident in a school zone resulting in serious bodily injury
  • Causing an accident resulting in death
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury or death

Common Defenses Used in Third DUI Cases

Legal and factual defenses frequently used to contest third or subsequent DUI charges include:

  • Challenging the validity of a prior DUI conviction, such as by filing a post-conviction relief petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel during a prior DUI proceeding, which, if successful, may mean you are only facing a first or second DUI charge.
  • Contesting the reliability of field sobriety testing or drug impairment recognition evaluations or showing that police improperly performed field testing.
  • Challenging the reliability of breath, blood, or urine testing, such as by showing that testing equipment had not been calibrated, testing protocols were not followed, or police had failed to maintain the chain of custody of breath, blood, and urine samples.
  • Contesting the validity of the traffic stop by showing that police lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause of a traffic violation or crime.
  • Citing a lack of evidence that proves you were in control of a motor vehicle while intoxicated or presenting evidence demonstrating that you were not in control of a vehicle, such as being arrested outside of a vehicle or being arrested in a vehicle whose engine was not running.
  • Contesting the admission of any statements you made to police if you were not informed of your Miranda rights or if you were denied access to legal counsel.

What Are Penalties for a Third DUI in New Jersey?

Penalties that may be imposed for a third or subsequent DUI conviction in New Jersey include:

  • Fines of at least $1,000
  • Imprisonment of 180 consecutive days, although up to 90 days of the sentence may be served in a drug or alcohol rehab program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)
  • Driver’s license suspension for eight years
  • Thirty days of community service
  • Completion of evaluation, referral, and program requirements established by IDRC
  • Auto insurance surcharge of $1,500 for three years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device during the period of license suspension and two to four years following the restoration of driving privileges

The court may also impose other financial penalties, such as IDRC fees or obligating you to pay the costs of your prosecution.

How Much Jail Time Would I Serve on a Third DUI?

The New Jersey DUI statute imposes a mandatory sentence of 180 days of incarceration for a third DUI conviction. Jail time must be served consecutively, which means that trial courts cannot permit offenders to serve their sentences on weekends while being released from jail during the week. However, trial courts can allow offenders to serve up to 90 days of their jail term in an inpatient drug or alcohol abuse rehabilitation program. Mandatory consecutive terms for third DUIs can significantly impact a person’s life, including jeopardizing their employment. This makes it critical to have experienced legal counsel to fight a New Jersey DUI charge.

Can a Third DUI Be Dismissed in New Jersey?

Prosecutors in New Jersey normally will not exercise their discretion to dismiss a third or subsequent DUI charge due to the mandatory jail sentence that the statute requires for a conviction. However, you might obtain a dismissal of your charge by successfully asserting one or more factual or legal defenses to have prosecution evidence excluded from your case or to raise a reasonable doubt as to one or more elements of the DUI offense.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Third DUI Case in New Jersey

The stakes of a third DUI conviction are high, but you don’t have to face them alone. New Jersey criminal defense attorney Steven Ellman can help you pursue a favorable resolution of a third or subsequent DUI charge in New Jersey by:

  • Promptly investigating the facts and circumstances of your charges to begin recovering evidence that may be useful for your defense.
  • Protecting your rights during the law enforcement investigation, including advising you if police wish to question you and ensuring that officers follow all proper procedures.
  • Explaining your legal options and the potential consequences of a conviction.
  • Aggressively pursuing defense strategies, including challenging the prosecution’s admission of evidence that was obtained in violation of your rights or is scientifically unreliable.
  • Bringing in expert witnesses, if necessary, to challenge the scientific validity of the prosecution’s case.
  • Advocating on your behalf to secure the best possible resolution for you, such as pursuing the dismissal of prior DUI convictions or fighting your case at trial if you choose to contest your current DUI charge.

Contact a New Jersey Third DUI Defense Attorney Today

If you face charges of a third or subsequent DUI in New Jersey, you need effective legal representation to build a solid defense to protect your rights and freedoms. Contact the Law Office of Steven Ellman today for a free, confidential consultation. Steven Ellman can help you understand your legal rights and the potential outcomes of a third DUI in New Jersey, then fight for the best possible resolution in your case. Now serves Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey.

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Steven Ellman

Steven Ellman is laser-focused on helping his clients resolve their legal issues promptly, receive fair compensation where applicable, and move forward with their lives. He is known for treating all his clients with the utmost respect, listening to their concerns, giving them options, and helping them make informed decisions about how to best proceed with their cases.