February 20, 2015

Fighting drunk driving charges

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People who have been charged with drunk driving in the state of New Jersey have several options available for their defense. Although they will of course be considered innocent until they are proven guilty, an assertive attempt to defend themselves against the charges may result in a much more positive outcome.

The two main types of criminal defense are the affirmative and the negative. The affirmative defense does not challenge the information provided by the prosecution. Instead, it adds to it with further evidence that is intended to exonerate the accused of wrongdoing. Affirmative defenses such as duress, where the defendant asserts that there was no choice but to drive intoxicated in order to get away from a dangerous situation, or involuntary intoxication, where the defendant states that they had become chemically impaired without their volition and may not have been aware of their intoxicated state, are rare but can be asserted if the appropriate circumstances exist.

It is more common for a defendant against charges of DUI to adopt a negative defense. This means that the evidence presented is challenged by finding fault in the information itself or the way that it was gathered. For example, if it can be shown to the court that the police did not act legally in making a traffic stop that led to a DUI charge, then the charge may be dismissed.

Penalties such as license suspension or revocation may commonly accompany convictions for DUI. The New Jersey court system may impose conditions such as the required installation of an ignition locking device on the defendant's primary vehicle. There is also the possibility of jail time and hefty fines. A criminal defense attorney can be helpful to clients who wish to attempt to refute the charges or mitigate the penalties.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving", accessed on Feb. 11, 2015

Tags: convictions, fines, license suspension, penalties


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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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