Atlantic City DUI + DWI Defense Lawyer
People often think of DUIs or DWIs as the stupidest mistake they ever made. It can be an easy trap to fall into. A drink or two with friends turns into a few drinks too many and you tell yourself you are okay to drive. In reality, it does not take a ton of alcohol to impair your driving abilities. Even only a few drinks could put you over the legal limit and land you with a DUI or DWI charge. If you have been accused of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence (DWI/DUI) in AC, you need experienced and competent legal counsel. Our Atlantic City DUI and DWI defense lawyers are here to help.
The Law Offices of John J. Zarych is here to provide that skilled counsel and aggressively represent your rights and interests. Our DWI and DUI defense attorneys in Atlantic City serve clients throughout all of South Jersey, including drivers arrested on the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway who are in danger of license suspension or revocation. Call our offices at (609) 616-4956 to schedule a free and confidential consultation regarding your case.
How Are DUI and DWI Defined in Atlantic City?
In Atlantic City and the rest of the state, a person driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). To be charged with a DWI, the defendant must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08%. You can even be charged for knowingly allowing another intoxicated person to drive your vehicle.
The severity of your charges will depend on multiple factors, including your age, your BAC, whether anyone was injured, and your history of DWIs. A first-time offender with a BAC closer to .08% who did not hurt anyone will receive a much smaller penalty than a repeat offender with a high BAC who caused an accident resulting in injuries. To determine the exact nature of your charges and the consequences you might be facing, please reach out online or by phone to our Atlantic City DUI and DWI defense lawyer.
Consequences of DUI and DWI Charges in Atlantic City
The severity of your DUI/DWI penalties will depend on a number of factors. Penalties can range from relatively minor for first-time offenders to very serious for repeat offenders. Whether you have been charged with your first or a subsequent DUI/DWI, reach out to our Atlantic City DUI and DWI defense attorney.
For a first-time offender whose BAC is at least .08% but under .10%, they will be required to pay a fine of no less than $250 and no more than $400. The police may also detain them for at least 12 hours but no more than 48 hours. The court also has the discretion to impose a jail term of up to 30 days. Finally, the defendant will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This device works like a breathalyzer attached to your car. It prevents a driver from starting the vehicle if it detects any alcohol on their breath.
If a first-time offender’s BAC is at least .10% but less than .15%, the fine will be raised to at least $300 but no more than $500. Police can detain the driver for at least 12 hours but not more than 48 hours, and they may be made to serve a jail term of up to 30 days. The driver will also be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
If the first-time offender’s BAC is .15% or higher, they may be stripped of their license to drive for at least 4 months but no longer than 6 months. They may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
If you have been charged with your first DUI or DWI, please contact our Atlantic City DUI/DWI defense lawyers.
A second DUI or DWI violation will result in a fine of no less than $500 and no more than $1,000, no matter the driver’s BAC level. The driver will also be ordered to perform 30 days of community service, the terms of which are set by the court. Additionally, a driver convicted of a second DUI or DWI will spend no less than 48 hours but no more than 90 days in jail. They will also lose their driver’s license for at least 1 year but no longer than 2 years. When the driver is eligible to get their license back, they may do so at the discretion of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s Chief Administrator. For help getting your license back, call out Atlantic City DUI and DWI defense attorneys.
Third Offense and Beyond
Anyone convicted of three or more DUIs/DWIs will pay a fine of $1,000 and spend at least 180 days in jail. This jail term may be reduced by no more than 90 days based on the driver’s participation in drug or alcohol rehabilitation. The driver will also lose their driver’s license for 8 years. If the driver owns any vehicle, they will be required to install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle. Our Atlantic City DUI/DWI defense lawyers will help you through your DUI/DWI case and get back to your life.
What Happens at a DUI / DWI Stop in Atlantic City?
If law enforcement suspects you are intoxicated while driving, they may pull you over to investigate. The police usually base the stop on erratic or unusual driving. Things like swerving in between lanes, driving too fast, or driving suspiciously slowly may all cause a police officer to suspect you are intoxicated behind the wheel.
Once you have been pulled over by law enforcement, the officer may conduct a series of field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are usually small physical tasks that are easy to complete for someone sober. However, these tasks can be difficult if you are intoxicated. Examples of field tests include walking in a straight line, touching your finger to your nose, or standing on one leg. These tests often require fine motor skills that would be impaired if you were intoxicated. Remember, field sobriety tests are not required by law in Atlantic City and you cannot be penalized for refusal to submit to this kind of testing. Along with that, field sobriety tests are not enough to arrest someone for a DUI or DWI. The tests are usually used to provide the police officer with enough probable cause to believe you are intoxicated before using chemical testing.
Breathalyzer tests and chemical testing will give the police an accurate measurement of your BAC. This is necessary to charge you with a DUI/DWI as the penalties will be based partly upon your BAC. Submitting to a breathalyzer test is legally required and is not optional. According to New Jersey law, all drivers consent to chemical and breathalyzer testing by virtue of driving on the roads and highways of the state. This is often referred to as implied consent. Although breathalyzer tests are technically something you cannot refuse, the police will not force you to submit to testing. However, refusal may be met with additional penalties. If you refused to submit to chemical testing, contact our Atlantic City DUI/DWI lawyers as soon as possible.
If you believe you were wrongfully stopped by the police, reach out to our Atlantic City DUI and DWI defense attorneys for assistance.
How DUI and DWI Checkpoints Work in Atlantic City
It is not uncommon for law enforcement to conduct DUI/DWI checkpoints. These checkpoints are areas along the roads or highways where the police stop any cars that pass to check for intoxicated drivers. The police do not need any probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe a driver is intoxicated to conduct the stop. If you are at the checkpoint, you might be stopped.
The key to DUI/DWI checkpoints is they cannot be arbitrary. The police might not stop every single car, but they must have some sort of system in place that prevents them from picking and choosing which cars to stop. Generally, the police might stop every other car or every third car at a checkpoint.
The police must also have a good reason for conducting DUI/DWI checkpoints in the first place. They cannot simply set up a checkpoint because they want to. The checkpoint has to be based on an actual need for the stop. For example, if there is a particular stretch of highway with an unusually high number of drunk drivers on the weekends, the police have a good reason to set up a checkpoint on that highway on a Saturday night.
In addition, the police cannot conduct surprise checkpoints. They must make it publicly known that a checkpoint will be conducted at a specific time and location on a specific date. This advanced notice can be provided to the public through the media, such as local news outlets, radio broadcasts, or newspaper advertisements. Once the checkpoint is set up, the police must also set up warning signs and lights, so drivers are aware of the checkpoint as they are approaching.
Once a driver has entered a checkpoint zone, they cannot attempt to avoid or circumnavigate the checkpoint. Drivers may plan their route to avoid checkpoints if they wish, but they cannot turn around if they have already entered the checkpoint area.
If you believe your experience at a DUI/DWI checkpoint was unlawful or improper, call out Atlantic City DUI defense lawyers immediately.
Penalties for Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Atlantic City
As stated previously, breathalyzer or chemical testing is required of all drivers. However, the police will not force you to submit to testing if you refuse. Instead, refusal to submit to chemical testing will result in additional penalties.
For a first-time offender who refuses to submit to chemical testing, they will lose their driver’s license unless they install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
A refusal to submit to testing connected to a second DUI/DWI offense will be penalized by revoking the driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle for at least 1 year but no longer than 2 years. The driver will also be required to install an ignition interlock device in addition to the loss of their license.
A refusal to submit to chemical testing associated with a third offense and beyond, the driver will lose their license for 8 years. They must also install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
Penalties for refusing to submit to chemical testing are imposed in addition to, not instead of, the penalties for the DUI/DWI itself. If you refused to submit to chemical testing and are now confronted with legal consequences, please call out Atlantic City DWI defense lawyer.
How an Atlantic City DUI Attorney Can Defend You Against Drunk Driving Charges
There are a variety of ways you can defend yourself against DUI or DWI charges in Atlantic City. You might have a defense if the police did not follow proper protocol when they stopped you for your DUI or DWI. You might also have a defense if you believe the equipment used to test you was faulty or malfunctioning. Our skilled Atlantic City DUI and DWI defense attorneys will analyze your case and determine what defense works best for you.
- Challenge the legality of the stop.
A driver cannot be stopped for a violation unless the police officer has probable cause to make the stop. We can file motions to suppress, challenging the legality of DWI stops. When successful, these motions result in the dismissal of DWI/DUI charges.
- Challenge the legality of the administration of breath tests.
The police may administer a breath test only if they have a reasonable belief that a driver has been driving under the influence. A successful motion to suppress will prevent the state from using the breath test findings at trial. Without the results of a breath test, the prosecution’s case against you is severely weakened.
- Challenge the use of blood evidence.
If a skilled defense lawyer provides the appropriate notices and demands proper documentation, it can be extremely burdensome for the state to prove a DWI/DUI case based upon blood analysis. We make every legal demand and provide all proper notices. Consequently, we are successful in many DWI/DUI cases that are based upon blood tests.
- Examine prior convictions.
If you have one or more prior DWI/DUI convictions, our lawyers will research your history to see if there were past constitutional violations that might affect your present case and minimize drunk driving penalties. If we can reduce the number of DUI/DWI convictions on your record, we may reduce your current charges.
- Challenge the results of the Breathalyzer test.
New Jersey uses an AlcoTest 7110 MK III. Like any other machine, it is susceptible to error. If the machine was malfunctioning or used improperly, your BAC test results might be inaccurate. Our DWI/DUI lawyers work with experts who will review the data to determine whether or not the results are accurate.
- Take the case to trial.
If the charges are not dismissed, our lawyers are willing to try the case in court. Our willingness to try the case can make the difference between a conviction and no conviction, or between losing your license for a few months versus a few years.
Contact Our Lawyers for Strong DUI Defense in Atlantic City Today
Our Atlantic City DUI and DWI lawyers are specially prepared to serve the needs of out-of-state clients who are arrested for drunk driving in AC. We take special care to handle those cases in a way that will minimize the impact in their home states.
Were you or a loved one arrested for a DWI or DUI? Contact our experienced Atlantic City DUI and DWI defense attorneys by calling our law offices today at (609) 616-4995 for a free consultation. Our lawyers are available seven days a week, including holidays.