Tag Archives: dui

Felony DUI

Although it’s a very serious offense, a charge of DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) is classified as a misdemeanor in most states. However, circumstances can arise that will elevate the charge to the level of felony. Because of the increased seriousness of the charge, a conviction for felony DUI carries far stricter penalties and farther-reaching consequences. The specifics of felony DUI vary by state, so it’s imperative that you understand felony DUI laws as they apply to you and your state.

Common Factors that Lead to a Felony DUI Charge:

BAC

While every state currently uses a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for the charge of DUI, many states will up the charge to felony DUI if your BAC far exceeds that limit (.16 percent is often the breaking point). Though not every state employs this law, nearly every state will impose harsher penalties for an elevated BAC.

Causing Bodily Harm

Some states will raise the DUI charge to the felony level if you’ve caused someone else bodily harm while driving under the influence.

Prior Convictions

If you have multiple prior convictions (and possibly just one prior conviction) within a certain timeframe, most states will up the DUI charge to felony DUI. The number of prior convictions and the amount of time allowed varies significantly from state to state.

Driving with a Child or Children in the Vehicle

Many states have laws in place that make it a felony to drive while under the influence if you have children in your vehicle (the trigger age for this law varies from state to state).

Driving with a Restricted, Suspended, or Revoked License

Many states will elevate the DUI charge to felony DUI if you are driving on a restricted, suspended, or revoked license.

If you are someone you care about is facing a felony DUI charge, you need experienced legal counsel.

Call 856-795-9688 to Schedule a Case Evaluation Today

If you are facing a felony DUI charge, it’s in your best interest to seek professional legal guidance. Consulting an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who’s skilled in fighting felony DUI charges can be instrumental in strategically defending your case. Robert E. DePersia, II, a New Jersey criminal defense attorney with decades of experience, has the expertise in felony DUI charges to help you effect the best possible outcome for your case. If you’ve been charged with felony DUI in New Jersey, call the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II at (856) 795-9688 and schedule your consultation today.

Your First–and Hopefully Last–DUI

Getting arrested is always frightening, especially if you have never been in that type of situation before. You may be a generally law-abiding citizen who made the decision to drive home on this occasion. Now, you are facing serious allegations of driving under the influence (DUI). Many people who are arrested for a first-time DUI have never had much–if any–experience with the criminal justice system and may not realize how serious the consequences of a conviction can be. The truth is that even a first DUI can result in serious penalties that can affect your life. For this reason, you should always contact a highly experienced NJ DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.

Some of the potential penalties for a first-time DUI in New Jersey can include:

  • 30 days of jail time
  • Fines up to $500
  • Suspension of your driver’s license up to one year
  • Possible requirement of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
  • Probation
  • Alcohol education classes

In addition, having a DUI conviction on your record can cause serious issues for you in the future including professional limitations or higher insurance rates. A conviction for a first DUI can also result in increased penalties if you are ever accused of DUI again. For this reason, it is best to avoid even one DUI conviction whenever you can.

Defenses to a First-Time DUI

The fact that you have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving does not mean that you will be convicted. Remember, the state must prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest burden of proof that exists in the U.S. criminal justice system. Some of the defenses commonly raised in a New Jersey DUI case include the following:

●     Casting doubt on the accuracy of any chemical testing that was performed

●     Impeaching the credibility of the officer that arrested you

●     Proving to the court that you have a medical condition that could cause symptoms consistent with alcohol intoxication

●     Showing that the initial traffic stop was not legally justified

Determining whether these or other DUI defenses apply in your case is complicated, so you should always have your case thoroughly analyzed by an experienced New Jersey DUI attorney.

Consult with a Skilled New Jersey DUI Defense Lawyer as Soon as Possible

At the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II, we help individuals facing first-time DUI charges as well as individuals with multiple convictions. If you have been arrested, call our office for a free consultation at 856-795-9688 today.

Tips for Interacting with Police During a DUI Stop

Being stopped by police is never a pleasant experience. Even if you know you have done nothing wrong, seeing flashing lights in your rear-view mirror can cause instant anxiety and even defensiveness. These feelings can be significantly escalated if you believe you are under suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. Whether or not you are drinking and driving, you should be extremely careful when you are interacting with police officers during a DUI stop. This goes for isolated stops as well as organized sobriety checkpoints. The following are only a few tips to remember when you are stopped by law enforcement.

Try to Remain Calm

Staying calm and cooperative is always best in any situation involving police, however, this can be much easier said than done when you are suspected of DUI. While it is completely natural to become anxious or nervous during any police encounter, you should realize that officers will generally take such behavior as a sign that you have something to hide, which will only incite further suspicion. Furthermore, becoming agitated or uncooperative at the scene of a DUI stop can make officers more determined to find a good reason to arrest you.

If you were anxious or agitated during a DUI stop, the officer will almost certainly include it in their police report and/or testify about your behavior in your DUI case. While such evidence can seem daunting, an experienced DUI defense attorney can present evidence that you were simply nervous and stressed about the encounter. However, it is always best to remain calm whenever possible.

Be Careful of any Questions Asked by the Officer

Many officers will begin to casually ask you questions during the DUI stop. You should be fully aware that this is not casual conversation or small talk, but that the officer is actively trying to get answers that can later be used against you in court. While you may think it is harmless to admit you had a “couple of drinks,” a prosecutor can spin such statements to try to prove that you admitted to being impaired. It is always best to politely refrain from answering any questions until you have consulted with your DUI defense attorney.

Call for a Consultation with a New Jersey DUI Defense Lawyer Today

At the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II, we work to build effective defenses in DUI cases, no matter what the circumstances were surrounding your DUI stop and arrest. Please call for help today at 856-795-9688.

Is The Alcotest Being Phased Out?

When a law enforcement officer suspects that an individual is driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, they must have probable cause to support an arrest. In addition, in order to secure a conviction for DUI, a prosecutor must have sufficient evidence that a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 percent or other signs that a driver was impaired. One of the most concrete pieces of evidence that is commonly used in a DUI case is the result of a test that measures the alcohol level in a person’s breath. While many jurisdictions use the ubiquitous Breathalyzer device for breath tests, New Jersey law enforcement has used a device called the Alcotest 7110 MCIII-C since 2005.

The reliability of the Alcotest was first challenged in 2008 and then again in 2011. In 2011, it was discovered that the software for the Alcotest had not been properly updated—as was required for results to be reliable. However, the manufacturer announced it was no longer supporting the device as of 2016, so instead of updating the software, NJ officials decided to discontinue the use of the Alcotest device. In addition, the Breathalyzer is not a viable option, so it is unknown how law enforcement in NJ will soon provide breath test evidence in a DUI case.

If another breath test device is not accepted by the state soon, one possibility is that officers will rely more heavily on their observations of intoxication. Many difference observations are commonly used against defendants charged with DUI, including the following:

  • The odor of alcohol on a person or in the vehicle
  • Slurring of words
  • Stumbling or swaying
  • Bloodshot, red, or watery eyes
  • Empty containers in the vehicle
  • Erratic driving behaviors
  • Performance on field sobriety tests

None of the above are generally as reliable as the concrete results of a breath test indicating a driver’s specific BAC. Therefore, a skilled DUI defense attorney will challenge an officer’s observations any way possible and will keep watching for any news regarding a new breath test method in New Jersey.

Find out how an Experienced New Jersey DUI Defense Attorney can Help You

At the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II, we represent the rights of drivers facing charges of DUI and many other violations. Criminal defense lawyer Robert DePersia develops a unique and individualized defense in each case, so please contact our office today to discuss your situation.

Impact of A DWI on Your Employment

When you’ve been charged with a DUI or a DWI, there are likely a lot of issues on your mind, and it’s important that your employment is one of them. There are some serious DWI consequences you could face. Many individuals recently charged with a DUI can find an already difficult job market even more unmanageable once they have this record, which will come up if your employer decides to run a background check on you.

Even if it doesn’t immediately disqualify you from a position, employers who have many candidates to choose from may be hesitant to give a chance to someone who has had a DWI in the past. How can you avoid this from happening to you? Here are a few nuggets of our best insight.

Type of Employment: Some positions are inherently more likely to be affected by a DWI conviction and related DUI consequences, including those that require background checks, such as working for the government, a school, law enforcement, medical professions, or others that interact regularly with the elderly, disabled, or young people. It will be additionally negative for those who require a commercial driver’s license on the job, as having that smear on your driving record could bar you from having those positions altogether.

Post-Conviction Relief: This is a program, also known as PCR, which can be used to lessen your sentence against future charges and can be very helpful when applying for a new position. While your permanent record is indeed permanent and a DUI cannot normally be expunged from it, there are some criteria that if met can help you to qualify for PCR and a partial amnesty when sentencing or moving forward with your employment. This is a great way to lessen your DWI consequences.

Traffic Violations: In New Jersey, a DUI is a traffic violation and is not an indictable crime or disorderly person’s offense. While this doesn’t seem like much when you’re still faced with hefty fines and possible jail time, this can make a huge difference in your hiring prospects. Traffic offenses are made by most people at one point in their driving careers, and having this type of record can be treated somewhat more understandably by your current or future employers. It is important, however, to work with an experience attorney to make sure that your case can be presented in the best possible light.

Seek Legal Counsel: With a case as serious for your employment as a potential DUI conviction, whether it is your first offense or a subsequent one, it is vital to work with an experienced attorney to sort out the facts. For a free consultation about the services I offer here at the Law Office of Robert DePersia, call me today at 856-795-9866: you’ll be glad you did.

Basics of DWI In New Jersey

New Jersey has strict penalties and laws for driving while intoxicated, or more commonly referred to as DWI. When you make the decision to drink and drive, you risk the safety of yourself others on the road, as well as your freedom, finances, and future.

Drinking and Driving Laws

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit of .08%. A BAC of .08% or above is used throughout the United States as the standard for “legally impaired.” There are lower limits for drivers under the age of 21 and drivers of commercial vehicles.

21 or older.08%
Under 21.00%
Commercial Vehicle Drivers.04%

Penalties

In the State of New Jersey, all drunk driving convictions result in a mandatory license suspension and require participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program for 12-48 hours. Once enrolled in the IDRC, the program will advise if any additional obligations will be assessed. The severity of the penalties following a DWI conviction depends on a variety of factors.

First Offense:
• $250-$500 fine
• Up to 30 days jail time
• 3 months to 1 year suspended license
• Possible installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Second Offense:
• $500-$1,000 fine
• 90 days jail time
• 30 days community service
• 2 years suspended license
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Subsequent Offenses:
• $1,000 fine
• 180 days jail time
• Attend IDRC
• 10 years suspended license
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

The Ignition Interlock Device is installed in the offender’s primary vehicle during the term of suspension and for 1 to 3 years following restoration. The device requires a breath sample prior to the car starting to prevent drivers from driving if their BAC is over a specified level. There is also a monthly maintenance fee required for the device which on average will cost about $75.

Refusal to Take a Chemical Test

If you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test and refuse, you will be subject to additional penalties and charges.

First offense:
• 7 months to a year license suspension
• $300-$500 Fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Second offense:
• 2 years license suspension
• $500-$1,000 fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Subsequent offenses:
• 10 years license suspension
• $1,000 fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Please remember that the above noted potential penalties are those imposed by the municipal court at the time of the conviction. The State of New Jersey will also impose surcharges of $1,000 a year for three years for each conviction of DWI or refusal.

New Jersey’s strict laws and penalties regarding operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can result in lengthy jail time, extensive fines, and loss of driving privileges. You need an experienced DWI attorney that is able to determine the best defense that will minimize penalties and obtain the best results. Attorney Robert E. DePersia has over 25 years of experience in DWI defense and has been successful in the thousands of cases he has handled. If you have been charged with DWI, call Robert E. DePersia today at (856) 795-9688.