Common Misconceptions About New Jersey DWI Charges
Interviewer: So when people come to you and they’ve been accused of DUI, what are some of the top misconceptions they have that you have to dispel right off the bat?
Paul: Well, in New Jersey the biggest misconception is that people think it’s a simple traffic matter. They don’t realize the severity of the punishments that the State of New Jersey imposes upon people convicted of a DWI. Specifically, most people are shocked to know that even the lowest tier of a DWI is a three-month loss of license. And what they also don’t realize is there is no such thing as a work license or an occupational limited license in New Jersey. They just think that they’ll at least be able to drive to work, and that’s not true.
Interviewer: What are some of the other misconceptions people have? First, it sounds like it’s not a very serious thing; maybe they could just try to handle it on their own without an attorney. That’s misconception. What other misconceptions do they have?
Paul: The other real big misconception is that people think that the charges of a DWI can be dropped because New Jersey had quite a long and lengthy history of lawyers having the ability to plea bargain the cases. It has been explicitly determined through legal cases that you can no longer plea bargain down a DWI.
In fact, it was the State of New Jersey vs. Hessen that prohibits plea agreements in municipal court drunk driving cases. So, the alternative is that you have to have an attorney who knows how to fight the charge because in fighting that ticket you can have the charges reduced or dismissed by the prosecutor. Possibly, they can be amended to a lesser charge, something other than a DWI, but not out of any favor, but out of principled argument and legal facts that would allow the prosecutor to come to that determination.