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This is My First DWI/DUI. What Should I Expect?

William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC June 30, 2022

Car keys and glass of alcohol on table in pubIn New Jersey, it is unlawful for any individual to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquors, drugs, or alcohol. A defendant convicted of DWI could be facing massive fines, lengthy imprisonment, license suspension or revocation, and other social consequences.

However, the severity of your penalties will depend on your number of prior DWI convictions and other surrounding circumstances. A highly-skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights, legal options, and what to expect when charged with your first DWI.

At William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC, Attorney William Quirk has the diligence, expertise, and resources to defend and represent individuals facing drunk driving charges. As your legal counsel, he can review every aspect of your case, outline your best defenses, and dispute the allegations against you with substantial facts and evidence.

Also, Attorney William Quirk will represent you vigorously at every stage of the legal process. He will fight to protect your driving record and help pursue the best possible outcome. The firm is proud to serve clients across Hackensack, New Jersey, as well as Paterson, Clifton, and West New York areas.

DUI Charges in New Jersey

Under New Jersey DWI laws, a person could be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) for operating a motor vehicle:

  • While under the influence of intoxicating liquors, hallucinogens, narcotics, or habit-producing drugs.

  • With a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08%.

On suspicion of driving while intoxicated or impaired with alcohol or drugs, a police officer may pull your vehicle over and request that you take a field sobriety or chemical test. An experienced attorney can enlighten you about your rights regarding DWI tests as well as the consequences of a refusal.

Tests and Your Rights

As mentioned earlier, a law enforcement officer may stop your car on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and request some DWI tests, including field sobriety tests and chemical tests.

Field sobriety tests are a group of three tests – the walk-and-turn, the horizontal gaze, and the one-leg stand tests - used by police officers to determine whether a driver is impaired. Under New Jersey DWI law, you do not have to submit to field sobriety tests, and there are no punishments for refusal.

Conversely, once you are issued a driver's license in New Jersey, you impliedly consent to DUI chemical testing. A chemical test – such as a breath, blood, saliva, or urine test – is often done to measure the level of alcohol in your breath, blood, or body.

According to New Jersey DWI law, refusing a chemical test following a lawful arrest is illegal. Any driver who refuses a blood or breath testing violates their implied consent law and will face possible criminal and administrative penalties. A skilled DWI defense attorney can enlighten you about the nature of your charges, the possible penalties, as well as the process you'll pass through when arrested for a first drunk driving offense.

Possible Penalties for First Offense

The possible penalties for a first-time DWI offense in New Jersey include:

  • Huge fines

  • Jail time

  • License suspension

  • Mandatory community service

  • Mandatory ignition interlock device

Other consequences include:

  • A criminal record/history

  • Higher auto insurance rates

  • Loss of your rights to possess, own, or carry firearms

  • Increased difficulty in securing employment and housing

  • Increased difficulty in getting government assistance or public benefits

  • Ineligibility to obtain certain financial loans

  • Deterioration of professional relationships

  • Loss of scholarships or university acceptance

If you or someone you know were recently arrested and charged with DWI, you need to get in touch with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately. Your lawyer can craft an effective defense strategy to help you avoid or mitigate the devastating punishment and consequences of a drunk driving conviction.

Knowledgeable Legal Representation

A first DWI conviction in New Jersey can possibly jeopardize your personal reputation, liberty, quality of life, eligibility for government assistance, and professional and future opportunities. Though, you may protect your driving privileges and avoid the severe punishment and consequences of a DWI conviction by fighting your charges. However, it is never advisable to navigate the criminal justice system alone. Therefore, when facing drunk driving charges, retaining an aggressive criminal defense attorney is crucial for detailed guidance and to help build your defense.

Attorney William Quirk has devoted his career to offering experienced legal guidance and comprehensive representation to clients in their drunk driving cases. As your legal counsel, he can investigate all of the detail of your case thoroughly and strategize an effective defense in pursuit of the most favorable outcome for your unique situation. Using his in-depth legal understanding, Attorney William Quirk will help you navigate the New Jersey criminal justice system. 

Never accept the prosecutor's plea bargain without fighting your drunk driving charges. Contact William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a skilled DWI defense lawyer. Attorney William Quirk can offer you the highly-personalized legal counsel, strong advocacy, and reliable representation you deserve. The firm is proud to serve clients across Hackensack, New Jersey, as well as Paterson, Clifton, and West New York areas.