Charged with a DWI Accident in Ocean County NJ
New Jersey’s strict DUI laws aim to deter drivers from endangering their lives and others on the road. The embarrassment, inconvenience, and cost are consequences of a DWI conviction designed to keep drunk drivers off the road and protect public safety. The justification for the harsh punishment is often noted as the accidents resulting from drunk driving. Many drunk driving charges arise after a car accident when the police arrive to investigate. Law enforcement on the scene of an accident seeks causes while examining the crash circumstances. Unfortunately, an impaired driver is often deemed the cause. And if the penalties for a driving while intoxicated offense are not bad enough, add a traffic accident, and it only gets worse. When you drive drunk or high and crash into another vehicle, you may be facing a sentence that includes penalties for a felony offense on top of the fines and penalties associated with a typical DUI. Our Ocean County DWI Accident Defense Lawyers can help with preventing the catastrophic consequences of being deemed responsible for a drunk driving accident and potentially even injuring someone else in the process. Connect with us for a cost-free, confidential consultation by contacting (848) 238-2100 anytime.
What if you get Charged with Drunk Driving with an Accident in New Jersey?
The circumstances of your specific drunk driving with a car accident case influence how long your license stays suspended, how much jail time you serve, and how much time you spend in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, among other severe repercussions. Even for a regular first-time DWI conviction, a defendant pays high fines, fees, and surcharges in addition to driving with an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. If their blood alcohol content is high enough, a person charged with drunk driving even for the first time in their life could lose their license for a time and then have an ignition interlock requirement for months thereafter. The rental and maintenance fees for keeping the device on the car are additional costs, and the device itself is inconvenient. Each time a driver starts their vehicle, they must blow into the machine. The car does not start if the driver’s breath registers even a slight amount of alcohol. And the device alerts nearby drivers and the police if a driver registers alcohol in their breath while driving with the device after the car’s initial start.
For second DUIs or third DWI offenses, the range of sentencing options allows a judge discretion to sentence the defendant to the fewest number of days in jail or the most. In other words, if the potential jail sentence for a second DUI conviction is between two and 90 days, you want the judge to give you the two rather than the 90. But if you caused an accident, even one without injuries or property damage, the judge may consider the collision an aggravating factor justifying the longest sentence. Additionally, if others involved in the accident sustained physical injuries, you may be defending yourself against assault by auto charges contrary to NJSA 2C:12-1c. Once the police arrive at an accident scene, they investigate the cause, assess the damage, and report their evaluation based on witness statements, physical evidence, and the accident scene. If they smell alcohol or otherwise detect a driver involved in the accident is impaired, they may establish drunk driving for a DWI.
DWI Assault by Auto Charges and Penalties in NJ
If the driver’s impairment caused or contributed to the accident, the accused may face a third degree crime carrying a sentence of up to five (5) years in prison when a severe injury occurs. Alternatively, the driver may face up to 18 months in jail for a fourth degree assault by auto charge when someone suffers bodily injury in a drunk driving accident. However, the distinction between a serious injury warranting a third degree conviction and an injury affirming a fourth degree conviction is not always clear. A court could consider some inconsequential injuries serious if it involves stitches, for example, even only two stitches to a finger. Worse yet, drunk driving that leads to an accident at or near a school or school crossing may cost you up to ten (10) years of your life in prison for a second degree assault by auto conviction, even if it is your first violation.
Can I get PTI for a Driving while Intoxicated Accident Case in Toms River?
Moreover, you may not qualify for beneficial first-time offenders’ programs like the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program. The PTI program allows those with clear criminal histories to participate in a supervised program similar to probation. The participant may have to follow a rigorous program with random drug testing and oversight. After completing a one-to-three-year program, the participant has their case dismissed. It is beneficial to those who get off track but wish to restart their lives with a clear record. A criminal record can hinder someone’s chances to get the job they spent years in school to attain, although they may eventually get a criminal conviction expunged from their record. You cannot remove a DUI or DWI conviction from your driver’s abstract, however.
PTI or the municipal court equivalents, conditional dismissal or conditional discharge, are invaluable to first-time offenders. Nevertheless, a DWI with an accident typically bars entry into the PTI option. A prosecutor approves an applicant for the program, and prosecutors generally reject those applicants with assault by auto charges after injuring someone in an accident while driving drunk. Overall, an intoxicated or high driver at an accident scene risks arrest for DWI charges, another traffic violation, and assault by auto.
Should I take a Plea for Charges from a DUI Accident?
To get the third degree assault by auto charge reduced to a fourth degree crime or a municipal court disorderly persons offense in exchange for a reduced sentence, the person facing these serious consequences may enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution. Unfortunately, a guilty plea to a municipal court moving violation can come back to haunt the driver in a civil action. If the driver at fault for the accident is a defendant in a civil lawsuit, that plea-bargained guilty plea may hurt their defense. The guilty plea is an admission of guilt in the plaintiff’s view. To avoid the criminal charge admission in the civil lawsuit, a convicted individual must ask the court to enter a civil reservation. This is an important component of the case and should be handled by a deft criminal defense attorney who’s familiar with everything involved in protecting a client from getting sued for a DWI accident.
Local Defense Lawyers for Drunk Driving Accidents in South Jersey
You could be in a world of trouble with a drunk driving accident, especially if you do not know how to deal with the prosecutor, prepare your defense, and protect yourself against civil repercussions from the accident. To avoid maximum sentences and multiple convictions, immediately contact our criminal defense lawyers who have experience offering legal help and representation to people in your situation. The laws and procedures in criminal court are complex, and an inexperienced individual could drown in the system without assistance.
Since the state has the burden to prove that you were drunk and caused the accident beyond a reasonable doubt, our savvy criminal and DUI defense attorneys use our years of experience to generate doubt in a judge’s mind to thwart the state’s case. We have the tools, knowledge, and experience to defend your rights and use the intricacies of the laws in New Jersey to your advantage. Importantly, we are here to analyze all of the evidence to identify strategies to defeat the state’s case against you. Engage with our criminal and DWI lawyers for a free consultation regarding your DUI accident defense by contacting us at (848) 238-2100 today. We regularly appear in courts throughout Ocean County defending DWI accident cases, including in towns such as Toms River, Brick, Seaside Heights, Jackson, Lacey, and Point Pleasant.