Obviously, someone who just plead guilty would forego any chance to get better than the standard sentence, which in New Jersey would involve anywhere from three to twelve months for a first offense DWI depending on the circumstances, along with three to twelve months loss of license.
They would have to undergo twelve hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and they would have to pay fines of about $650. There would also be subsequent yearly surcharges of $1,000 for three years.
Someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 on a first offense, could also end up with an interlock device which would be placed on the ignition of their car for a period of time before they could get their license back. It would remain even after the person got their license back.
The best and only way for someone to avoid some or all of those penalties, would be for them to defend themselves in court. There would be no real backdoor for avoiding the penalties. There would be no temporary license or work license and there would be no hardship exception to paying fines or surcharges. All of those would be mandatory.
A frontloaded defense would be the best way to make it easier or at least have the chance to make it easier on the person in the coming months and years after a DWI charge.
The Courts Have To Sentence People According To The Law For DWI
While they would not necessarily be unsympathetic, the courts and the prosecutors would be obliged to follow the law. From a prosecutor’s standpoint, this means they would typically move forward with the DWI case if they felt they could prove the case against the person, and there would really not be too much discretion there.
The prosecution would oftentimes move to dismiss the charge if they found there were problems with the case, or they would perhaps insert a reduced charge in place of the original charge based on the evidence that came to light later.
People have the best chance of getting a better result if they hire an attorney. The prosecution usually does not like reinvestigating their own cases, which is why an outside person like an attorney would be the best person to bring up flaws before the date of a trial.
The judges are obliged to impose sentences based on what a person admitted to at the plea hearing. So for example, if a person admitted to the crime and the offer was to plead guilty to a standard DWI, then the judge would be obliged to impose a sentence of three to twelve months loss of license, fines, classes, surcharges and a possible ignition interlock device.
Timeline Of What Happens After Being Pulled Over For Suspicion Of DWI Until Sentencing
There would typically be an almost immediate request for an admission whenever someone had been stopped or investigated for driving while intoxicated. They would be asked if they had been drinking or if they had ingested something that might intoxicate them.
This would be followed up by a standardized field sobriety test during which the officer would get the person out of the vehicle to do the tests to observe the person’s coordination and balance. This would typically be followed by putting handcuffs on the person and putting them into the back of a police cruiser.
The person would be then taken to the headquarters of the police station and at that point, they would be requested to give a sample of their breath and/or urine if the facts and circumstances dictated it. At that point, the person would typically be released into the custody of somebody else who could pick them up. The car would be held for 12 hours and they would then be released.
At that point, the person would be given a court date which would be the first appearance date. This is when the judge would tell the person what they had been charged with, what the potential penalties were and they would inform them about their rights to trial and their rights to counsel.
The person could then fill out an application for a public defender or they could ask the judge to adjourn the case so that they could retain private counsel.
When someone retains me before that arraignment date, as it is sometimes called, I would usually waive that arraignment date, explain the charges and penalties to my client myself and then begin working on the defense of the case. This would involve requesting discovery and possibly getting an expert to review the discovery and then I would talk to my client about our plan of defense.
For more information on Handling A DWI In Court In New Jersey, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (732) 223-8480 today.