Drunk driving arrests are one of the most common arrests in New Jersey. Thousands of these arrests occur every year. Most people will never have an encounter with law enforcement officials in which they are suspected of committing a crime. So, what should our readers expect if they are charged with DUI?
Well, for starters, the circumstances of the arrest will need to be examined. Law enforcement officials must have a valid reason to pull a vehicle over, such as allegedly seeing a traffic violation of some kind. If there was no valid reason for the traffic stop to begin with, the DUI case may be dismissed before it goes much further.
However, if there is enough evidence for prosecutors to proceed with the case, defendants can expect to face some choices. Defendants will need to decide whether or not to start plea agreement negotiations or, potentially, push the case all the way to a trial. The vast majority if criminal cases end with a plea agreement, but if the defendant believes the evidence in question in a DUI case is insufficient for a conviction, that defendant may want to take the chance of proceeding to a trial.
The penalties for a DUI conviction can vary, depending on a defendant’s criminal history. If, for example, the defendant is a “first time” offender, the penalty for a DUI conviction will likely include a term of probation and an order to attend substance abuse treatment. However, if the defendant has prior convictions, especially prior DUI convictions, the penalties for a subsequent DUI conviction can increase substantially. Each defendant in New Jersey will need to analyze the available options for a criminal defense strategy.