The simple answer is YES!
Many times, during a consultation with a person charged with DUI, they say something like: “ well I checked on the internet, and the worst that can happen is that I lose my license or a few months”, “or my friend only got a such and such penalty, so I’m not really worried”
Unfortunately, they’re wrong. New Jersey’s DUI statutes provide for a range of penalties, that include license suspension from 3-12 months for a first offense to 10 years for a third or more offense; however, they also provide for the possibility of jail time, even for a first offense, and jail is required for a third offense. The facts of each person’s case is different and determine what the possible penalties, may be, not what someone may have misinterpreted on the internet, or what happened to their friend or relative.
Under New Jersey law, a judge can impose a wide range of sentences, based upon various “aggravating factors” that he/she is required to consider, such as:
1. Refusing to provide a chemical breath test when it is lawfully requested by an officer;
2. Causing an accident;
3. Causing an accident that results in injuries or death to someone else;
4. Having a BAC above a certain amount (typically, the higher the BAC, the more likely the judge will deem it an aggravating factor);
5. Having a child in the car at the time of a DWI;
6. Having prior DWI convictions within the last 10 years;
7. Driving drunk within 1,000 feet of a school;
8. Driving above a certain speed or driving recklessly at the time of a DWI.
In addition to a DUI charge, which is a motor vehicle offense, many times a DUI can lead to criminal charges, such as :
1. Aggravated DWI
2. Assault by auto, if someone is injured
3. Endangering the welfare of a minor, if a child is in he vehicle;
4. Vehicular manslaughter, if someone is killed.
So, as previously stated, the facts of each person’s case are what determines the potential sentence, and the best way to learn what you’re facing and what can be done for you is to meet with an experienced DUI attorney.
I have over 25 years successfully handling DUI cases throughout New Jersey. If you, a family member or friend has been charged with a DUI, call me for a free initial consultation. I’ll explain the charges and how I can help.
All the best!
Randy C. Redden