Police in the United States arrest about 1.5 million for DUI/DWI charges every year. In most states, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is at 0.08% or higher, you may be charged with a DUI/DWI. (DUI is short for “driving under the influence” and DWI is short for “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired.” States decide which term is used locally, and New Jersey uses DUI and DWI interchangeably.) If you find yourself facing DUI/DWI charges, no doubt you’re thinking about what you can do. This blog will explain why you should focus on getting your charge dismissed, rather than consider a plea bargain, and some tactics your lawyer may use. Don’t delay after being charged with a DUI, and get in touch with a Mercer County DUI lawyer soon.
Why Should I Try to Get My DUI Charge Dismissed?
The goal of your lawyer should always be to get your charge dismissed, and you should always face these charges with a lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome. If you get convicted, the trial judge won’t have much discretion. Relying on the “mercy of the court” unfortunately won’t lead to very good results.
Keep in mind that even punishments for a first-offense DUI or DWI in New Jersey include fines, insurance costs, installing an ignition interlock device, and attending the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. You may potentially face jail time, especially if you had your license suspended at the time you were arrested or were caught driving with a suspended license specifically for a DUI.
Fortunately, you can have your DUI charge dismissed entirely.
How Do I Defend Against a DUI Charge?
There are several ways a lawyer might fight your charge as they try to successfully question the legality of your traffic stop.
For instance, your lawyer might show evidence that the police didn’t see anything in your driving that might be probable cause for them to suspect a traffic violation or any other kind of crime.
Your lawyer may also call into question the validity of field sobriety tests by pointing out an error such as that the police officer forced you to do the test on uneven ground, which might cause anyone trouble in their movements. Breathalyzer tests can also be administered incorrectly. If the officer doesn’t clean and calibrate the device, they may get a false positive for you.
Importantly, you won’t be able to request a plea bargain for DUI. It is against the law for New Jersey prosecutors to initiate and engage in plea bargain talks; they can only downgrade or dismiss the charge if there was a legal flaw in the original case that would not allow prosecution.
For this reason, your lawyer will put aside the question of whether to plea bargain in favor of questioning whether the evidence against you was admissible or reliable. If your lawyer can argue successfully that it was not, then the prosecution will not have proven the elements of your charge “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as is the burden of proof standard.