Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated is a serious offense in New Jersey. A DUI offense occurs when a motorist operates a vehicle while high on drugs or alcohol.
Drunk driving may be illegal but it doesn’t mean drivers cannot consume alcohol. Visit a DUI attorney in NJ to help you understand your legal duties regarding driving while intoxicated.
Frequently Asked Questions About DUI
The consequences of a DUI charge or offense can seriously affect many spheres of your life. Some of those consequences can haunt you for years. That said, avoiding drunk driving is the best way to avoid a DUI charge. Here are the frequently asked questions about DUI:
How Can I Defend a DUI Charge?
Defending a DUI charge is a complex process and can vary on the facts and circumstances of your case. Some possible defenses that can be raised in a DUI case include:
- Lack of probable cause for the traffic stop or arrest.
- Improper administration of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests.
- Calibration issues with breathalyzer test equipment.
- Medical conditions or other factors that may have affected the test results, and
- Challenging the accuracy of blood alcohol content (BAC) calculations.
It is important to hire a qualified DUI attorney who’s familiar with the DUI laws in your jurisdiction to defend your case. A DUI attorney can also represent you in court and negotiate with the prosecution for a reduced or alternative sentence.
How Should the Police Stop a Motorist for DUI Testing?
The police should stop a motorist for suspected drunk driving in a safe and orderly manner, following standard traffic stop procedures. These standards include:
- Using their vehicle’s lights and siren to signal the driver to pull over;
- Approaching the suspected driver and identifying themselves as a police officer, and explaining the reason for the stop.
The officer may ask the driver to step out of the vehicle for a field sobriety test and may request a breath or blood test to measure the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC).
Testing should be conducted after getting consent from the driver. The suspect’s rights and the provisions of the law should also be upheld.
Can I Refuse to Take a Field Sobriety Test?
In many states, law enforcement officers will pull you over to determine your intoxication status. Field sobriety tests are voluntary in many states, including New Jersey, meaning you can decline to participate.
The evidence obtained from field sobriety tests is used in DUI proceedings against suspects. As a result, many criminal defense lawyers often advise their clients not to complete them.
Are Sobriety Checkpoints Legal?
Yes, sobriety checkpoints are legal. However, suspects have a right to decline unreasonable searches or seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
A seizure must result from probable cause to be reasonable. In other words, the police must have a good reason to stop suspects for DUI testing. Sobriety checkpoints officers typically stop suspects randomly and hence, different quarters argue that these random stops aren’t reasonable or based on probable cause.
Are Minors Subject to Different BAC Limits?
Most states impose strict requirements when it comes to underage drinking, blood alcohol content, and drunk driving. The legal drinking age in New Jersey is 21 years.
The legal BAC limit for adults is 0.08% and 0.01% for minors, or 0.02% in the majority of states. Several states completely prohibit alcohol consumption by minors.
Can I Sail My Boat After Consuming Alcohol?
DUI laws are not limited to motorized vehicles—they also regulate water vessel operators. Boat operators can be guilty of a DUI if their blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.08% or 0.10% in some jurisdictions.
Like with DUI for motorists, the majority of states discourage or prohibit drunk sailing of water vessels for minors. However, all these DUI laws—for motorists and water vessel operators, vary by state, so it’s important to consult a DUI lawyer in your state to help you understand the legal position.
What Is Implied Consent?
In the context of DUI, implied consent presumes that by driving a car, you consent to participate in a field sobriety test whenever required. Otherwise, declining such tests attracts adverse legal consequences or penalties.
Under the implied consent law, driver’s license holders consent to stops on public roads if suspected of drunk driving. They also consent to field sobriety tests they may be required to take by police to determine their intoxication status.
Failing to complete a field sobriety test is a violation of the implied consent law. Consequently, the suspect is subject to fines or penalties, such as the suspension of their driver’s license.
A DUI can affect many spheres of your life, including employment, personal relationships, and more. Fortunately, a reputable DUI attorney can defend your case and possibly lessen the likely punishment or penalties.