What Should I Know About a First Offense DUI Charge?

Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can affect one’s life significantly. Being pulled over and arrested for DUI can be a traumatic experience. It is important to know about the entire legal process after receiving a DUI charge. This information will help the offender understand their legal rights and options.

When it is suspected that a driver is impaired, an officer will ask them to perform a field sobriety test. The police officer will ask the driver to perform certain physical moves and/or mental tasks, such as walking in a straight line, touching the nose while the arms are outstretched, following the officer’s finger with the driver’s eyes, and even reciting the alphabet backwards.

Another test that can be performed is a breathalyzer test. This is where the driver will breath into a handheld device that can detect alcohol on the motorist’s breath. The physical or mental tests administered by the officers are somewhat subjective, and failing these tests is up to the determination of the officer. If the driver fails any of the tests, then they will be arrested and taken to the police station.

What Happens at the Police Station?

When the suspected drunk driver is taken to the police station, more tests will be done. A more accurate breathalyzer test might be performed. In some instances, a urine sample is taken. In other instances, the driver is taken to the hospital so a blood sample can be taken for testing. A blood test for alcohol content would be the most accurate. These tests are designed to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level. The BAC level will determine if the driver has violated the law.

It is important to note that in New Jersey, DUI is a traffic violation. Therefore, unless there are other extenuating circumstances, the driver will likely be allowed to go home within a few hours.

What Happens After the Offender Leaves the Police Station?

When the driver leaves the police station, they will be given the following:

  • Traffic Violation Ticket: Since New Jersey treats a DUI charge as a traffic violation, a ticket will be issued to the driver. A DUI ticket will be issued along with other potential traffic violations, such as speeding or reckless driving.
  • Court Arraignment Date: The driver will be given a date for the first court appearance, which is called an arraignment. During the arraignment, the driver will go in front of a judge and will be asked to declare a plea, either guilty or not guilty.
  • Arraignment Hearing: It is very important for the driver to hire an experienced lawyer to represent them at the arraignment. There are many consequences to declaring a guilty plea. If so, the driver might be issued a sentence right then and there. There also may be many other consequences for declaring a not guilty plea.

What are First Offense DUI Penalties?

How a driver is sentenced and what penalties they will face for their first DUI arrest depends upon the amount of the BAC readings.

The person may receive a driver’s license suspension. Additionally, an ignition interlock device will be installed in the vehicle. An ignition interlock device is attached to the ignition, and it prevents the vehicle from turning on unless the driver blows into it and no alcohol is detected.

The individual will have to pay fines and go to an intoxicated driving program. (IDP). There is also possible jail time, depending upon the BAC level. For help with understanding charges and options, the offender should speak to a lawyer.

South Jersey DUI Lawyers at Agre & St. John Help Individuals with First Offense DUI Cases

If you have a first offense DUI case, the South Jersey DUI lawyers at Agre & St. John can help you through the process. This can be a very stressful time, and you need all of your questions answered quickly. We understand that DUI charges cause serious penalties, and we can help you with your case. Contact us online or call us at 856-428-7797 for an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.

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