Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in New Jersey, carrying severe consequences that can impact various aspects of your life. In New Jersey, a DUI charge is not limited to alcohol impairment but also includes impairment due to other substances. Due to the harsh consequences, The Law Office Defense of New Jersey DWI and Criminal Cases is here to guide you through the legal processes.
Can a DUI be dismissed?
Having a DUI charge dismissed in New Jersey is sometimes possible. The first essential step is to hire a good DUI attorney.
Examples of proof deficits that sometimes affect proof of the case by the State:
Alcotesting (breath testing device) Procedural Noncompliance
Test results may be deemed unreliable or non-evidentiary if the testing officer makes a procedural error or uses an incorrectly calibrated device. Your attorney can scrutinize these details, potentially leading to exclusion or defeat of breath test evidence— or even dismissal— if procedural errors are found.
Use of Non-Standard Field Sobriety Test by Arresting Officer
Field sobriety tests must be conducted in a standardized way to be most persuasive at trial. If an arresting officer employs non-standard tests or administers standardized testing improperly, your defense attorney can challenge the constitutionality of an arrest or the reliability of the evidence at trial, which may sometimes lead to the dismissal of the charge.
Negotiating a Plea Bargain for a DUI Charge in New Jersey
A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal or traffic case where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or one of multiple charges in exchange for some form of leniency from the prosecution. This could mean reduced charges, lesser penalties, or avoiding a trial altogether.
In New Jersey, the option to negotiate a plea bargain in DUI cases is typically limited. DUI laws are designed to discourage impaired driving and ensure public safety. However, by recent amendment of the statute, there are instances where a plea bargain now can be considered, especially when specific mitigating factors are present, or there are substantial doubts about the strength of the prosecution’s case.
The feasibility of a plea bargain in a DUI case often hinges on the specifics of the case and the discretion of the prosecutor and judge. Defendants considering this route should hire a good DUI attorney to investigate, broach and navigate these complex negotiations effectively.
Elements of a DUI/DWI Charge
Elements of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge form the foundation of the prosecution’s case and are what the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. These include:
- You were operating a vehicle. In New Jersey, ‘operation’ can be interpreted broadly, and one does not necessarily need to be driving to be considered operating the vehicle.
- You were impaired. This can be shown through observable behavior (erratic driving), field sobriety tests, or chemical tests. New Jersey law stipulates that a BAC of 0.08% or higher is legally impaired. This is independent and regardless of subjective observation of the driver’s appearance, coherence, coordination, etc.
- The operation of the vehicle occurred in New Jersey on a public roadway or anywhere on public on private property. The definition of a public roadway in New Jersey can include highways, streets, and sometimes even parking areas accessible to the public.
Possible Defenses to New Jersey DUI Charges
When faced with a DUI charge in New Jersey, it’s crucial for a defense attorney to review for the potential defenses that can be employed. Those include:
Violations in the Arrest Protocol
This defense involves questioning whether the arresting officer followed all required procedures during the DUI stop and arrest.
Lack of Probable Cause
The law requires that officers have a valid reason to stop a vehicle, such as a traffic violation or suspicious driving behavior. If it is demonstrated that the officer lacked probable cause, evidence obtained during the stop may be inadmissible.
Challenging the Evidence
Challenging the evidence can involve questioning the accuracy of breath tests, the reliability of field sobriety tests, or the officer’s observations and judgments.
Demonstrating legal inadequacies involves examining the processes and procedures followed post-arrest and ensuring all legal standards are met. Any legal shortcomings might be leveraged to strengthen the defense.
Facing a DUI charge can be a life-altering event, but it does not have to define your future. Seeking the right legal advice and representation is the first step towards navigating this challenging situation. At The Law Offices of Bartholomew Baffuto, Mr. Baffuto is committed to providing legal guidance, the best possible defense, and ensuring that your case is handled professionally and seriously.