Much of the time, a DUI case can be settled before it goes to trial. Because the punishments are so harsh, many of the drivers who have been charged with a DUI will take a plea agreement because they are worried that even worse consequences could await them if they do not. However, if you are ready to fight these charges, a Mercer County DUI lawyer is ready to fight for you.
What is the Process for a DUI Case?
The process for most DUI cases progresses in a similar way. A driver is arrested and charged with a DUI for driving with a blood alcohol content, or BAC, above 0.08%. Then they are arraigned and informed of the charges being filed against them. It is at this point that you can make a guilty or not guilty plea. We recommend securing the help of a DUI attorney beforehand.
Then the evidence against you is handed over to your DUI lawyer. They can evaluate everything and spot any issues with the state’s case against you.
At this point, the state will offer a plea. If you do not agree to the initial offer and no consensus can be reached, your DUI case will go to trial.
Do I Get a Jury Trial for My DUI Case?
No. In New Jersey, a DUI case that goes to trial will be heard in front of a municipal judge. They will hear the facts of your case and determine whether or not you are guilty. Penalties for DUI charges can be severe, but a lawyer can help you build a case that may get your charges dismissed.
What Are the Punishments in a DUI Case?
Before you try to take your DUI case to trial, you should know some of the potential punishments for this crime. Even a first DUI charge can carry harsh penalties like:
- A fine of up to $400 and surcharges of up to $1,000
- The loss of your license until an ignition interlock device is installed
- Up to 30 days of jail time
Penalties can be even harsher if you have a higher blood alcohol content or if this was not your first time being charged with a DUI. You could even be facing additional charges if you injured someone while you were behind the wheel. You have a lot at stake here and need to act accordingly.
How Can I Defend Myself in a DUI Case?
Whether your DUI case goes to trial or not, you need to form an affirmative defense when you are charged. Your attorney can review the evidence and find the best path forward. Common defenses include:
- Showing that the arresting officer improperly conducted the field sobriety test
- Alleging that the stop was illegal or unwarranted
- Questioning the calibration of the breathalyzer used to measure your BAC
If you have been charged with a DUI, contact the Law Office of Douglas Herring. We can offer you a free legal consultation and the opportunity to learn more about your options.