• December 06, 2019
  • DWI
Do you have to lose your license under new NJ DUI law?

Recent changes to New Jersey’s DWI laws have eliminated driver’s license suspensions for many first offense drunk-driving convictions.  New Jersey has also reduced the driver’s license suspension period for second, third and subsequent convictions.  The new law, and update to NJSA 39:4-50, which took effect on December 1, 2019, and expires on January 1, 2024, dramatically changes the way New Jersey treats DWI convictions. While controversial in that critics argue the law reduces the deterrent effect of a prospective DUI, the law has the support of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (“MADD”), the state legislature, and was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy without significant opposition. Many legal observers and attorneys were surprised by this development, but the trend now is to enforce drunk driving mostly by the installation of ignition interlock devices instead of driver’s license suspensions. If you have been charged with DUI, call our office to speak with an experienced DUI attorney who consistently gets positive results for clients. New DUI Penalties First Offense If you are convicted of a first-offense DUI under NJSA 39:4-50 and your blood alcohol content (“BAC”) is .08 to .10%, you only be subject to a driver’s license suspension until you prove that you have installed an ignition interlock device on the vehicle that you principally operate, own, or lease. The interlock must remain installed on your car for three (3) months. There still exists the $250 to $400 fine and the $1,000 a year MVC surcharge for three (3) years.  You still must attend and complete the intoxicated driver’s resource center (“IDRC”) for twelve (12) hours served on two (2) consecutive days.   For a first-offense NJ DWI conviction with a BAC of .10% or above, the fine is increased from the above to $300 to $500 and the interlock period to seven (7) to twelve (12) months.  For a first-offense DUI conviction with a BAC of .15% or above, there will still be a mandatory license suspension of four (4) to six (6) months and still install the ignition interlock device. Indeed, interlock installation is now mandatory for all NJ driving while impaired or DWI convictions.  You can still be sentenced to 30 days in jail for any first offense DWI conviction regardless of your BAC. The new law does not change the penalties for an NJ DUI conviction from drugs. A drug-based DUI conviction still carries a seven (7) to twelve (12) month driver’s license suspension.  This applies to both prescribed drugs such as Xanax and painkillers and non-prescribed drugs such as heroin or even marijuana. Second Offense The new NJ law reduces the driver’s license suspension for second-offense DUI convictions from two (2) years, to now one (1) to two (2) years.  The fine remains $500 to $1,000 and the mandatory two (2) to ninety (90) day jail sentence still applies.  In some cases, it may be possible to serve the jail sentence for a second-offense DWI conviction in the IDRC rather than county jail.  The mandatory thirty (30) day term of community service and 48 hour IDRC also still applies, along with the MVC monetary surcharge. Third or Subsequent Offense The penalties for a third, fourth, or even tenth DUI conviction are the same as before. These penalties apply to anyone convicted of a third or subsequent DWI and include a mandatory fine of $1,000; six (6 months) mandatory jail, and a now “reduced” term of license suspension of eight (8) years, down from what was previously ten (10) years.  Not more than half of this sentence may be served in an NJ IDRC approved inpatient rehabilitation facility.  This option is only available if made a part of your negotiated or judge determined sentence. Changes to NJ Refusal to Submit to Breath Testing Penalties under NJSA 39:4-50.2 and NJSA 39:4-50.4 The new DUI law also eliminates the driver’s license suspension for a first-offense conviction of refusing to provide breath samples. Instead, like a first-offense DUI conviction with a BAC under .15%, the new law provides for mandatory installation of the interlock device in lieu of a driver’s license suspension. For a second-offense DUI conviction, the penalties are the same as for a second-offense DUI under the new laws, expect that the jail and community service do not apply.  The fines imposed for a first-offense refusal conviction are $300 to $500 (first offense), $500 to $1,000 (second-offense) and $1,000 (third or subsequent offense). Other Issues School-Zone DUI penalties under the new NJ DUI laws The new DUI law eliminates the enhanced penalties, and in fact the entire law against specifically driving while under influence of drugs or alcohol in a school zone under the old NJSA 39:50(g), which was repealed. The reasons behind this are unclear, but it is worth noting that the overwhelming majority of  “school-zone” DUI charges occurred after school hours when schools were not in session and no children were present.  The practical effect of the old school-zone DWI law in most cases merely enhanced the legal exposure of an individual accused of driving under the influence in urban, rather than suburban or rural areas. NJ Interlock installation, costs, and maintenance Interlock sales and installation are now big business thanks to the new DUI laws, which makes the installation of such devices now mandatory for all NJ DUI convictions.  The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (“MVC”) overseas the interlock program within the state.  The interlock is a device that is installed into the vehicle’s ignition system that prevents the operator of the vehicle from starting the car until they blow into a tube connected to the device to establish that their BAC is under .05%.  It is a criminal, disorderly persons offense to blow into another individual’s interlock device in order to allow them to operate the vehicle.  The person convicted of the DUI is responsible for the costs of installing, maintaining, and calibrating the interlock device.  The device can cost around $200 to install and must be “leased” from the interlock company. The monthly...

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jail time for dui

If you receive a DUI in New Jersey, you could be facing jail time. How much jail time exactly? It depends on the specific circumstances of your case. Here, our New Jersey DUI defense lawyer gives an overview of the drunk driving penalties in our state. We address the three key factors that will determine how much jail time you will be facing if you are convicted of intoxicated driving. Jail Time for DUI in New Jersey: What You Need to Know Do You Have a History of Intoxicated Driving Offenses? Under New Jersey state law (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50), drivers are charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or more, or if a substance is impairing them. A key factor that determines jail time for a DUI arrest is their driving history. New Jersey usually punishes each drunk driving offense more than the previous one. The range of potential jail time for a DUI in New Jersey is: First time DUI offense: A defendant may face up to 30 days in jail. Second time DUI offense: A defendant may face between 48 hours and  90 days in jail. Third time DUI offense: A defendant will face a minimum of 180 days in jail. Are There Any Aggravating Factors? DUI conviction history is not the only thing that the state of New Jersey considers when penalizing intoxicated drivers. There are circumstances where a defendant could face more jail time. These are often referred to as ‘aggravating factors’. If an aggravating factor is present, you are likely to face more severe penalties. The most common aggravating factors in New Jersey are: Having a BAC level at or above 0.15 percent; Engaging in reckless driving while impaired; Getting a DUI while in a school zone; Getting a DUI with a child in the car; or Involvement in an accident while under the influence. The most serious form of DUI is vehicular homicide. If a drunk driver causes an accident that results in death, they may face felony charges and a long prison sentence. If you or your loved one was arrested for a DUI with aggravated factors, call a criminal defense lawyer right away. You must take immediate action in these cases. How Will You Defend Your Case? You will not face any jail time until you plead guilty or the prosecution proves the DUI charge and gets a conviction. How much jail time you will face in a DUI case depends, in large part, on the strength of your legal defense. Consult with a top-rated New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer after being arrested and charged with a crime. Your DUI lawyer will review your case and determine how to protect your rights. One of the primary goals of New Jersey DUI defense lawyer Anthony J. Vecchio is keeping clients out of jail. When there are options to avoid any jail time — as is often the case with first time DUIs — Mr. Vecchio helps his clients get access to those options. Your rights and freedom must be protected during this process. Do not go up against prosecutors alone. Get Help From Our New Jersey DUI Defense Lawyer Right Away At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, our top-rated New Jersey drunk driving defense attorney is a strong advocate for clients. If you or your loved one is facing potential jail time for an intoxicated driving offense, we are here to help. To set up an initial consultation, please contact us today.

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  • September 04, 2019
  • DWI
driving while intoxicated

In New Jersey, it is a serious criminal violation to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. Under New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50), you can receive a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher or if any substance is impairing you.If you were arrested for intoxicated driving, you need to know how to protect your rights.So what should you do if you are arrested for DUI in New Jersey. Below, our New Jersey DWI defense attorney highlights the most important things that you need to know. Driving While Intoxicated in New Jersey: Four Steps to Protect Your Rights 1. Pull Over, Be Polite Seeing those flashing blue lights in your rear-view mirror is stressful. As soon as you recognize the police cruiser, you need to pull over as soon as you can. When the officer approaches your window, be polite.  When asked, hand them your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information. If a law enforcement officer suspects you of drunk driving, the last thing you want to do is add more problems. At this point in the process, the less you say and do, the better. 2. Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent While you should be polite, please know that you do not have to answer any questions asked by the police. If a police officer pulls you over, you are a suspect. Even if you did nothing wrong, it is in your best interests to be careful. Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, when questions about drugs or alcohol are being asked at a traffic stop, exercise this right. You are not going to talk your way out of a DUI arrest; you might talk yourself into even more trouble. In fact, people talk themselves into DUI arrests and convictions on a regular basis. Remember, any statements that you make could be taken out of context or used against you in a criminal trial. 3. Know Your Rights and Responsibilities Every driver in New Jersey should have a basic understanding of their rights and responsibilities for DUI stops. To start, you should be aware of the fact that New Jersey has an ‘implied consent law’. Under this law, you have already agreed to take a post-arrest breathalyzer test. By driving on a public road in New Jersey, you have consented to take a breath test on suspicion of drunk driving. If you refuse to take a breath test, you will be charged with a crime. In contrast, field sobriety tests are not mandatory in New Jersey. You have every right to refuse to take a field sobriety test. Police officers will generally not tell you about this. In fact, they are not required to tell you that you can refuse to take a pre-arrest sobriety test without penalty. Study after study has shown that the most common field sobriety tests are not very accurate. False positives are common. 4. Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer The most important thing to do if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated in New Jersey is to call a DUI defense lawyer. Call a lawyer before you make any statements to police. More importantly, call a lawyer before pleading guilty or talking to a prosecutor. The consequences for a DUI conviction — even a first-time offense — can be severe. There are options available. A New Jersey defense lawyer will review the circumstances of your arrest, assess the prosecution’s evidence, and protect your rights and interests. In some cases, that will mean challenging the charges. In other cases, it will mean working towards a plea agreement that reduces penalties. Get Help From Our New Jersey DWI Defense Lawyer Right Away At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, our New Jersey drunk driving defense attorney will protect your rights. If you or your loved one was arrested for a DUI, we are here to help.  To schedule a confidential initial consultation, please call us today.

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dui first offense new jersey

New Jersey takes intoxicated driving charges very seriously. “If you drive impaired, law enforcement will arrest you,” states the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety. In recent years, many counties, cities, and towns across the state have been increasing highway enforcement. Even a first time DUI offense could result in a defendant facing harsh consequences. This raises an important question: What is the punishment for a first-time drunk driving violation in New Jersey? In this article, our New Jersey DUI defense lawyer provides an overview of the penalties for a first offense in the state. DUI First Offense NJ — An Overview of the Penalties Under New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50), it is unlawful to drive while impaired. A key factor that determines the penalties for a DUI is whether the driver has a history of drunk driving offenses. Generally, first time DUI offenses are punished less than later offenses. A first time DUI is still a serious issue. The penalties for a first offense DUI in New Jersey may include the following: Up to $1,000 in financial penalties; Increased auto insurance costs; A three-month suspension of your driver’s license; Mandatory DUI classes; Mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device on your car; and Up to 30 days in jail. Aggravating Factors May Result in More Penalties In New Jersey, a defendant facing a first-time drunk driving charge could receive more penalties if their case has an ‘aggravating factor’. An aggravating factor makes a drunk driving offense especially extreme in the eyes of the law. There are several different types of aggravating factors listed in the New Jersey state statutes. Some of the most common examples are: Being ‘highly intoxicated’ — meaning a BAC level of 0.15 or higher; Having a child in the car or getting a DUI while in a school zone; Committing another traffic violation at the same time, such as speeding or reckless driving; and Causing an accident that leads to a serious injury or fatality. Depending on the nature of the aggravating factor, the penalties can vary. If you or your loved one was arrested for a first time DUI offense with an aggravating factor, contact a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer immediately. Prosecutors seek severe penalties in these cases — possibly including jail time. How Our New Jersey Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Can Help It is a huge mistake to view a first time DUI as a minor offense. A conviction will cost you money, time, driving privileges, and even career opportunities. Do not plead guilty without speaking to a criminal defense lawyer first. There may be options to avoid severe penalties. Anthony J. Vecchio is an experienced DUI defense attorney with lots of experience handling first-time offenses. He helps clients through their most difficult days. Mr. Vecchio will: Review of your case; Explain your rights and options to you; Make sure that the arresting officer respected your rights; Look for all available options to reduce penalties; and Build a strong, compelling DUI defense. Every intoxicated driving case is different. If you are facing a first time DUI in New Jersey, you need a lawyer who understands your case and will build a personalized defense strategy. In some cases, false or unfair DUI charges must be challenged in court. In other cases, the best strategy is to focus on reducing the penalties of a first time DUI. One mistake should not follow you for the rest of your life. Were You Arrested for a First Time Drunk Driving Offense in New Jersey? We are here to help. At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, our New Jersey criminal defense lawyer has lots of experience with handling first time drunk driving cases. To set up a confidential review of your case, please call our legal team right away. We handle intoxicated driving cases throughout the state of New Jersey.

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  • September 03, 2018
  • DWI

DWI laws in NJ have received increased attention in the last several years. One reason for the increased legislative discussions deals with the state’s treatment of repeat DWI offenders. In NJ, repeat DWI offenders may face stricter penalties following the introduction of two new bills. New Proposed Law One bill follows publicity surrounding the five consecutive DWI arrests within a five-week period of a Vineland, NJ man. The man, Anderson Sotomayor, has been charged with driving while intoxicated. He was also with improper passing, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident after colliding with a school bus. Less than a week later, Sotomayor allegedly struck a police vehicle while intoxicated, and then two days later, allegedly struck a utility pole. He has also been charged with an alleged drug offense, all within less than two-month period. The bill’s proponents want to toughen current penalties for repeat offenders. One change would be for anyone charged with DWI twice within two months to have a $10,000 fine and up to 18-month jail penalty for drunk driving. Likewise, news stories report “the bill also requires courts to suspend the person’s driver’s license when one is charged with a second DWI offense within 60 days and permits judges to impose bail up to $10,000. DWI offenses would have to be recorded by police departments within three hours of the charge being filed. Courts can’t typically impose a bail amount higher than $2,500 for fourth-degree crimes. DWI offenses would have to be recorded by police departments within three hours of the charge being filed.”  Second Proposed Law A second bill introduced was this year. Assembly Bill 1368 / Senate Bill 385, proposes installing Breathalyzer-type ignition interlocks. These would prevent a person from starting their car until blowing into an attached Breathalyzer. According to news sources, the proposed bill would require post-conviction drunken drivers to “use… ignition interlocks…. for a period of at least three months.” This penalty would be assessed against all those convicted of DWI, including all first-time NJ DWI offenders. Both bills have received public support from consumer groups. These include Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) as well as multiple sponsors for the proposed legislation. Drunk driving in NJ is serious business. Whether you or someone you love has recently been charged with a significant traffic violation, such as DWI, you should know that a NJ DWI lawyer can help sift through the charges, the court process, and penalty guidelines. No matter the changes on the horizon, The Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC is here to serve as your ally and legal advocate.

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Under the U.S. Constitution, we are protected from certain police actions. For instance, before you can be legally pulled over for a DWI, law enforcement must have what is called a reasonable suspicion that you are driving while under the influence. To be arrested, there must be probable cause that you were committing the crime of driving while impaired. Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion in New Jersey DWI Cases If you have been stopped by a police officer who claims there was a reasonable suspicion of DUI or DWI, your case should be reviewed at once by a qualified New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer. It is possible that your rights were violated. A full review of the facts and a discussion with you about exactly what happened will help you understand the best course of action. The standard of reasonable suspicion is lower than what is termed probable cause. Probable cause is the phrase found in the Constitution, which reads: no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause. A warrant, including a warrant for DWI, cannot be issued without sufficient evidence or belief that a person has committed a crime. In a watershed case, Terry v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1968 that the police can stop and briefly detain a person for investigative purposes if the officer has a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity is afoot, even if the officer lacks probable cause. The idea of reasonable suspicion then became part of our legal vocabulary. Reasonable Suspicion for a DWI Stop If a law enforcement officer has a reasonable suspicion of DWI, you can be pulled over. What constitutes the types of behavior that could indicate drunk driving? Generally, the driving behaviors associated with driving under the influence include: Swerving Drifting out of the travel lane Wrong-way driving Speeding Erratic driving Running lights or stop signs Being involved in collisions, among others Should you be pulled over by police for any of these behaviors, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test, asked to perform roadside sobriety tests, and questioned about alcohol consumption. Did the Police Stop You Illegally? There are cases in which a person is pulled over and then charged under a reasonable suspicion in a DWI arrest who was factually not in violation of any law. That person may have been subjected to an unlawful police stop. If you were driving safely, within the speed limits, and not violating any traffic law, no reasonable suspicion exists that legally justifies a police stop. If you were pulled over for a traffic violation, the police may report that they had a reasonable suspicion of DUI or DWI because you slurred your words, had bloodshot eyes, or other similar findings. In fact, the sobriety testing used by police is for the purpose of gaining the higher level of probable cause of DWI to arrest and charge you. Many people are unaware that you are not required under New Jersey law to submit to roadside sobriety tests. You are required to submit to a breath or blood test. Get Help with Your New Jersey DWI Charge No matter what occurred in your case, there is little doubt that having a DWI lawyer to defend you can make all the difference in the final outcome. If you were arrested and charged with DWI or DUI in Freehold, NJ or any other location in New Jersey, I can help you. With five offices across New Jersey, I urge you to connect with me immediately for help. Your case deserves a full review. The issues surrounding probable cause and reasonable suspicion are only two of the possible legal issues that could allow you to avoid conviction. There are more and I know them all. Call me, attorney Anthony J. Vecchio, for help today.

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  • March 20, 2017
  • DWI

Enjoying an alcoholic beverage can be, for many people, a pleasurable experience where a person can relax, unwind after a busy day, and even socialize over drinks with friends. Moderation, as with any intoxicating substance, is key. Unfortunately some people take those enjoyable moments too far. As a DUI attorney in NJ, one common event is a DUI charge following a night of binge drinking. NJ DUI Charges In New Jersey, a driver suspected of driving under the influence is tested for the level of intoxication he or she may be operating under. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level can be tested in a number of ways, including by Alcotest, blood or urine. According to the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, “a person with a BAC of 0.08% or greater who operates a motor vehicle or a boat is considered to be driving under the influence (DUI).” Drivers whose BAC level exceeds the legal limit of .08% can face stiff penalties. The extent will largely depend on the number of incidents of DUI in their past. Also considered is the level of the driver’s BAC. If you have been arrested in the past for intoxicated driving in NJ you should be aware that penalties increase. Binge Drinking Excessive drinking, including binge drinking, remains a serious concern for health care professionals. In fact, a report published in the New York Times by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that up to “10 percent of deaths among working-age adults in the United States” result from excessive drinking. According to Robert D. Brewer, co-author of the paper and the director of the alcohol program at the CDC says, “It’s a huge public health problem any way you slice it.” Beyond the health risks that binge drinking poses, excessive drinking inhibits cognitive reasoning, which can lead to making poor decisions. Clearly, the public policy concerns of increasing DUI penalties make sense in terms of maintaining safety. But the rights of the accused do not hinge on public policy considerations alone. The handling of evidence, including the manner in which a traffic stop and Breathalyzer / Alcotest are conducted, weigh in the greater scheme of upholding the rights of the accused. Every person accused of violating public safety, or endangering the public through reckless or intentional acts, deserves the best defense. This is why NJ defense attorneys do what they do. Whether the first or fifth DUI, the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC is here to help the accused mount to the best defense possible.

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  • February 14, 2015
  • DWI

If you face a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in New Jersey, you may be concerned about how the arrest will impact your ability to earn a living. For instance, how will you get to work if you lost your driver’s license or if your vehicle was impounded or badly damaged in a crash? Additionally, you may wonder: Should I tell my employer about the arrest? Will I need to tell future employers or potential employers about it? Will a DUI tarnish my reputation as a professional? You should take the following different factors into consideration. A DUI Arrest is Not the Same as a Conviction At the outset, you should remember: A DUI (or DWI) arrest is different from a conviction. A DUI conviction results from a finding or admission of guilt. A DUI charge merely serves as an accusation. You may assert one or more defenses in your DUI case, including: The police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle or detain you for sobriety testing. Police failed to properly administer a roadside sobriety test. The police did not watch you for 20 minutes before they administered breath testing to measure your blood alcohol content. The police obtained a statement from you in violation of your Miranda rights. Police used an Alcotest machine that was not in working order. The police and prosecution committed discovery and evidence rule violations. In short: Although you may be arrested for a DUI in New Jersey, you may never be convicted of the offense. The absence of a conviction could impact your employment and your career. Will I Lose My Job because of My DUI? Generally, a DUI arrest is your own business – and nobody else’s business. You could choose to keep your arrest as a private matter and refrain from discussing the matter with your employer. However, under some circumstances, disclosure of the DUI arrest may be advisable – if not required. You should find out whether your employer has a company policy about these matters. Some employers state in their employee handbooks or inform you at the time of hiring that you must advise them if you are charged with a DUI or with any other traffic or criminal offense. Military bases and other workplaces where government clearance is required typically have these policies. Additionally, if you must drive for work or use a company car, you may encounter this type of policy. Many companies simply want to protect their brand or reputation. They may require their employees to meet high standards of conduct in their personal lives and mandate disclosure of a DUI arrest. If your company has a policy that requires you to give notice of a DUI arrest, then you should comply with it. If you fail to do so, you could expose yourself to being fired or disciplined. In some workplaces, an employer may withhold taking action against you until your case is resolved. Ultimately, if you avoid conviction, a DUI arrest may have no impact on your job at all. Should I Tell My Future Employer about My DUI Arrest? If you apply and interview for a new job, you should disclose your DUI arrest if the potential employer requests such information. Trying to keep the arrest and/or conviction a secret may only haunt you in the long run. For instance, if you fail to disclose the DUI, it could harm the potential employer’s trust and confidence in you. The company may learn about the DUI, anyway, if it conducts background checks of prospective employees. The company may quickly remove you from its list of candidates. Even if you are hired, the employer may learn about the DUI at a later date and fire you for dishonesty – not necessarily because of the DUI. If you must disclose your DUI, or if you voluntarily choose to disclose it, you should be careful about how you discuss the matter. For instance, you may wish to emphasize that you made an error in judgment and learned a valuable lesson from your mistake. You could also discuss the benefits of classes, counseling and treatment. Will a DUI Arrest Impact My Professional Reputation? A DUI arrest can carry a social stigma. Most of us would prefer to keep the matter private while it is in the process of being resolved. However, if your work puts you in the public eye, you may find it difficult to keep the arrest private. For instance, you may work as a doctor, lawyer, teacher, clergy member or politician. Your career may depend, in large part, on your reputation within the community. To minimize the harm from a DUI arrest, you should consider taking a multi-pronged approach that includes immediately seeking counseling for alcohol issues. Depending on the nature of your work, you may wish to work with a public relations firm that can help to manage your reputation in the community, including your reputation online and in social media circles. Additionally, you may have a professional license that could be at risk. You should hire a lawyer to guide you through the process of reporting your arrest and/or conviction and any disciplinary proceeding you may face. Get Help from an Experienced New Jersey DUI Attorney If you have been charged with a DUI in New Jersey, you need experience on your side. Contact Anthony J. Vecchio today to learn more about your legal rights and the steps he can take to pursue the best possible outcome for you.

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  • September 04, 2014
  • DWI

Being pulled over and placed under arrest for a suspected DUI (driving under the influence) or impaired driving charge can be an extremely embarrassing experience, particularly when you are arrested in front of family or friends. If you have been arrested for DUI in New Jersey, you may be feeling humiliated, ashamed or frightened about what comes next. Rest assured, you do not have to go it alone. We understand what you are going through Our firm is committed to providing clients like you with the legal support and counsel that you need in this legal situation. It is our job to help you fight for your rights and do whatever we can to assist you in seeking a favorable outcome in your case. That’s a responsibility we take seriously. Keep in mind that DUI arrests can happen to anyone. It does not matter whether you are rich or poor, own an expensive SUV or a high-mileage beater car, have a Ph.D. or never finished high school. The law applies to all of us equally. Any driver can be arrested for and charged with DUI if they are found to be operating a vehicle while impaired or under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other illegal substances. In some instances, all it may take is a few drinks in a social setting or a prescription medication to put your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) over the legal limit. Potential DUI Penalties in New Jersey DUI is a serious offense. Whenever a driver is found to have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more, it is very likely he or she will be placed under arrest and charged with DUI. Individuals who are convicted of DUI in New Jersey can face heavy penalties, including but not limited to: Fines, fees and surcharges; Driver’s license suspension; Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID); Jail time; and Community service. Drivers with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.10, or with a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher, as well as repeat offenders, will face mandatory fines and penalties upon conviction. These penalties may include: Loss of driving privileges Fines up to $1,000 Mandatory surcharges Required contributions to the drunk driving fund, Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund, and Neighborhood Services Fund Up to 180 days in jail Up to 90 days of community service Maximum of 48 hours in an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center (IDRC) program Required installation and use of an IID for up to three years Additional penalties could also be levied if the driver is found with an open container, to have been driving while under a DUI license suspension, or with drugs in his or her possession. What You Should Do If You Are Arrested for DUI As a driver, you need to realize that being arrested for DUI is not the same as being convicted. Even if you fail a field sobriety test, breath test or blood test, those test results do not guarantee a conviction. If you have been arrested for DUI, recognize that you have constitutional rights—and exercise those rights. The law does not require you answer any questions following your arrest, without first speaking with an attorney and making the smart choice to have an attorney present during any questioning. While you may not believe you have done anything wrong, and you want to cooperate with the police, what you say will be used against you in court. Always speak with a lawyer before discussing your situation with law enforcement officials or admitting fault. Let us help you keep your life together following a DUI arrest. Call our office so we can review your case and advise you of what strategy may allow you to successfully pursue a reduced charge, or a dismissal of the DUI charge. Sources: State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission: DUI: Driving Under the Influence

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  • September 03, 2014
  • DWI

Probably no other area of the law has as many myths and misconceptions surrounding it than DUI law. If you face a DUI charge in New Jersey, no doubt you have received plenty of “advice” from friends and family. Maybe you have heard rumors about how a DUI is worse than a DWI, or someone has told you that you will get a DUI only if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit. At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, you will get straight answers to all your DUI questions. We offer reasonable, flat rates, and attorney Anthony J. Vecchio has both prosecuted and defended thousands of cases all over New Jersey. You can count on our firm to be here when you need us. What Is a DUI in New Jersey? In short, no difference exists between a DUI and DWI in New Jersey. It is true that, in some states, DWI and DUI are different offenses, and they may include different penalties. However, In New Jersey, “driving while intoxicated” is the same as “driving under the influence.” Since there is no distinction between DUI and DWI in New Jersey, the potential penalties that individuals face are the same no matter what you call it. What Is the Legal Limit in New Jersey? Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, you can be convicted of drunk driving even if you are within the “legal limit” for alcohol consumption.  You are presumed to be impaired if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. Of course, even below this amount, police and prosecutors can use other evidence to try to convict you. Things like video evidence of you failing your field sobriety test, witness statements or the officer’s own testimony can all be used to try to convince a jury that, despite being below the legal threshold for impairment, you were unfit to operate a motor vehicle as a result of alcohol consumption. For those who are under 21, the legal limit is just 0.01 percent. In other words, New Jersey has a “zero-tolerance policy” for underage drinking and driving. For those with commercial drivers’ licenses (CDL), the legal limit is just 0.04 percent. What Are the Penalties for DUI and DWI in New Jersey? For a first DWI offense, you could face all of the following: Up to 30 days in jail Between $250 and $500 in fines Three months to a year of license suspension An interlock device to operate your vehicle. For a second offense, things become much more serious, as you could now face: Up to 90 days in jail Between $500 and $1,000 in fines Up to two years of license suspension An interlock device to operate your vehicle. Finally, for third and subsequent offenses, you could face the following: Up to 180 days in jail $1,000 fine Up to 10 years without a license. Other Consequences of DUI/DWI in New Jersey For those with college, military or other career aspirations, a DWI can be a very serious offense. It can mean the loss of scholarships, college admissions, athletic opportunities and even denial of military applications. Many employers will fire a person for getting a DWI, especially if driving is any part of the job or if getting to and from work is going to be more difficult due to a lack of transportation. For these reasons, it is wise to fight hard to avoid a DWI conviction. Even if you think you have no options, and you have to take a deal, it is still best to talk to an attorney before accepting any plea agreement. How Plea Agreements Work in DWI/DUI Cases in New Jersey Once you are charged with DWI in New Jersey, you will be “booked” and processed. This means your photo and fingerprints will be taken. A judge will then set a trial date. Next, you will go through the process of figuring out whether you and the State of New Jersey can agree on an outcome, or if the matter must proceed to a trial. When you represent yourself, the State has all the leverage. The State has the evidence, the witnesses and the legal knowledge. However, when you hire an experienced DWI defense attorney, you can level the playing field. If you hire Anthony J. Vecchio, he will get to work demanding all of the State’s evidence.  You have a right to review the evidence against you in advance of trial to look for weaknesses. If you and Anthony can show the prosecutor that the case is weak, you may be able to use that leverage to negotiate a plea agreement. Here are some examples of things that could help you to get a better deal or even an outright dismissal in some situations: The police had no reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the stop. The police officer improperly used race as a reason for making the stop. The police mishandled evidence. The police failed to give a proper Miranda warning. Th police continued questioning you after you exercised your right to counsel. The breath or blood exams were defective. The police used excessive force or police brutality. Get Help from a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Today When you face serious criminal charges, you need serious representation. And make no mistake: A DWI/DUI is a serious offense. The impact of a conviction could last a lifetime. You really cannot afford to simply sit by and watch as someone else makes decisions about your entire future. Take control of your life and your case. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC today. We make the process of hiring a criminal defense lawyer straightforward and uncomplicated. We have offices throughout New Jersey, and we even offer free consultations. So, don’t delay, and don’t speak to police or prosecutors until you have talked to an attorney of your own.

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