If you have watched a lot of cop shows, you might be under the impression that many cases eventually go to trial. Some can be dropped before they reach that point, but you should have a jury trial waiting for you at the end of the process, if that is what you want. This is actually not the case with a DUI charge in New Jersey though. A Mercer County first DUI lawyer from our firm can help you understand your options and decide whether or not you want to go to trial.
What Do I Get Instead of a Jury Trial?
After your arraignment and the discovery of evidence, your lawyer and the prosecution might begin talking about plea deals. If a compromise can be found and it is amenable to both sides, then this probably ends here.
However, if no agreement can be reached, it is time to proceed to a trial. There is no jury though. Instead, you go to municipal court and have a judge preside over your trial. This means that the prosecution really only needs to convince one person that you are guilty, and that is the judge.
What Are the Punishments for a DUI?
If you are found guilty, the punishments for a DUI are going to be harsh. This is true whether you have a spotless record or a history of committing crimes and misdemeanors. If this is your first DUI charge, you could be looking at:
- A fine of up to $400
- Mandatory time spent in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
- The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
- A suspension of your license until an ignition interlock device is installed
- Up to 30 days in jail
If you have previous DUI convictions, the penalties can become even more severe. Fines can rise as high as $1,000 and you could lose your driver’s license for up to 10 years. The state is serious about pursuing those that drive under the influence, and you need to be serious about fighting back against any charges.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
You are not required to hire an attorney, but having a criminal defense lawyer on your side can be beneficial. We can evaluate your case and let you know if proceeding to a trial in front of a municipal court judge is your best plan of action. We can also answer any questions that you have about your case and help you build a strong defense against these charges.
Reach Out to Our Law Firm Today
If you are facing a DUI charge, you need to act quickly. Contact the Law Office of Douglass Herring and schedule your consultation today. We want to tell you more about how our knowledgeable team could be of assistance to you.