What Are Some Misconceptions People Have About Being Arrested For DUI?

The first thing that everybody needs to understand is that in New Jersey, DUI and DWI are the same thing. There were approximately 24,313 arrests for DUI/DWI in the State of New Jersey in 2014, out of a population of 8.8 million, which is thankfully not a huge number. DWI is not a criminal offense in New Jersey. In Nevada, it is a traffic violation, although in most jurisdictions such as New York, Pennsylvania, California and everywhere else in all the other 40 states, it is actually considered a criminal offense. In New Jersey it is merely a traffic violation, which is a very important distinction to be made.

This means that even if someone got a DWI, they would not be convicted of a crime; in fact it would be the opposite. The notion that someone has been arrested and their entire life would be over is not accurate. It would not mean their life would be over even if someone was charged with one traffic violation and with one criminal act, whereas it would mean nothing at all as far as DUIs are concerned.

This does not mean the penalties for DWI are not strict, because the penalties that come with a DWI can be very difficult, especially when you consider that public transportation in New Jersey is really not all that great in certain areas. Someone in Bergen County who lost their license because of a DUI, might find it very difficult to be able to get to work to the extent they may not be able to get to work at all. These things are very significant and should not be minimized, although it would still not be charged as a crime which is very important to remember.

The second thing people should remember is that it is not a question of who the person is as a person but rather the mistake they made. The person might have multiple DUIs and a problem to face up to and deal with, but that would still not make them a bad person even if they were in a cell. Obviously, we do not condone the notion of drinking and then jumping behind the wheel of the car, but it is just something to know and keep in mind that it would not necessarily mean the person was a bad person just because they got a DWI.

What Factors Enhance A DUI Charge And Turn It Into A Felony?

In New Jersey, there is currently a law sitting on the Governor’s desk which is going back and forth suggesting that they should try to even out and balance out some of the penalties for DWI. One of the things they are trying to do is make it so that in theory it could be a work license that would allow for a person to get back and forth to work or school, just like they have in New York. The flip side would be that it would be considered a crime if the person got a third DUI.

The other thing would be if there were also children in the vehicle, or the person ends up driving around a corner at a very high rate of speed where kids were playing in the street and then almost ran them over. The person could be charged with what everybody else would call a felony, although in New Jersey we do not refer to them as felonies, they are referred to as indictable offenses or crimes or criminal offenses.

The person would basically be looking at endangering the welfare of a minor, which happened to one of my clients who had their child in the back seat. The person had not actually been drinking but they were having a bad reaction to medication, so we were able to take care of that situation but they were being charged with a felony level crime of the second degree of endangering the welfare of a minor.

They had no idea what was going on because they were having an adverse reaction to medications they never should have been given together and then they drove the car and ended up facing a second degree felony, which is punishable by between 7 to 10 years in state prison. People really do have to be careful and think about it before they get behind the wheel of the car.

How Does The Law Apply For Underage Drivers?

In the state of New Jersey, underage drivers are not allowed to drink under the age of 21 so someone who was drinking while underage could either be charged with something called a “Baby DUI,” which means that the person would have a problem if their blood alcohol level was anything above a 0.00.

How Does The Law Apply For Commercial Drivers?

A commercial driver who got convicted of a DWI would lose their commercial driver’s license.

Would That Be For Good Or For Only A Certain Time Period?

A commercial driver’s license in itself is a completely different situation in New Jersey so someone who lost it would not be able to just get it back after a certain period of a suspension.  The person would have to go through the whole application process if they did lose it and at that point already, it would be a whole different situation than it would have been previously.

For more information on Misconceptions About DUI, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (201) 692-0073 today.

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