Drunk Driving Arrests in the Time of COVID-19


The onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has negatively impacted all aspects of modern life. In New Jersey, the state implemented a strict shutdown policy to battle the virus. This caused delays in all criminal procedures, and it even affected those who were charged with driving under the influence (DUI)in the state.

In New Jersey, DUIs are not criminal offenses, they are traffic violations. This means that those suspected of DUI do not have the same constitutional expectations than those charged in criminal proceedings. In other words, they do not have any window on when they must appear before a judge. However, they are entitled to a court date before a municipal judge. Similar to many other court-related matters, DUI cases have been severely delayed because of the ongoing pandemic.

Will My DUI Charge Get Dismissed Because of COVD-19?

While the court system is currently overwhelmed as it tries to catch up from being closed for several months, they will not be dismissing DUI charges. The courts are delaying these hearings as they catch up from their backload of cases.

DUI cases normally only take a few months before the accused appears before a municipal judge. Given the backlog, most can expect that number to be significantly longer. There is no telling how long it will take to resolve a case as each court is different. However, acquiring an experienced DUI lawyer can help the accused manage the elongated process. A lawyer can also help establish a proper defense to answer the charges.

Until the state lifts its restrictions, the courts will abide by current guidelines for COVID-19. In other words, most hearings will be held telephonically or through video conference. For those who are conducting in-person sessions, many are wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

How Do I Get My Driver’s License Reinstated?

A person convicted of a DUI faces several punishments, including significant fines and the loss of their license for a certain period of time. After a person has served their suspension, they must go to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to have their license reinstated.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MVC offices throughout the state previously shut down and only began opening last summer. However, they opened on a limited basis and restricted the services they offered. Despite this reduction, the MVC offices have been plagued with significantly long lines and tremendous delays. The MVC is constantly shifting which services it offers online and which ones are in person. However, a driver is still required to complete the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program if they wish to have their license restored.

How is New Jersey Conducting the IDRC Classes?

Until the state lifts its restrictions, the IDRC classes are being conducted remotely for the foreseeable future. These classes are another mandatory punishment that those convicted of a DUI must complete to restore their license. The program, which hosts classes in each county, provides mandatory alcohol and highway safety education training to offenders.

During the sessions, attendees are screened for potential drug and alcohol addictions. It is also determined if attendees need to undergo any future treatment or therapy. If further treatment is necessary, the person must complete the training before they can move forward on having their license restored.

South Jersey DUI Lawyers at Agre & St. John Help Maneuver the DUI Process During COVID-19

If you have been pulled over for DUI and you do not know what the next step is, a South Jersey DUI lawyer at Agre & St. John can help. Contact us online or call us at 856-454-8674 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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