Being charged with a DUI is a very serious matter. While DUI charges may only be considered serious traffic violations in the state of New Jersey, they can still carry severe consequences. Depending on your driving history, as well as any other offenses that may have been committed, a DUI conviction can result in hefty fines, suspension of your license, and even jail time. Repeat offenders can face far more substantial penalties.
If you have been charged with a DUI, there are ways to contest it. In the unfortunate chance you find yourself in this situation, contact a Gloucester county DWI lawyer at The Vigilante Law Firm P.C. for more information.
What should I do if I’m charged with a DUI?
One of the most common forms of evidence New Jersey police officers use as proof of a BAC of 0.08% or higher is by putting you through standardized field sobriety tests. This can include a wide array of methods such as:
- Touching your nose with your finger
- Standing on one leg
- Reciting the alphabet
- Walking and turning
- Counting backwards
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Among these tests, things such as counting backward, touching your nose, and reciting the alphabet are no longer considered sufficient proof of intoxication above the legal limit by the federal government or medical professionals. However, some New Jersey police officers not only still use these tests, but will also use them as evidence against you in court. While evidence based on the results of non-standard field sobriety tests can have their validity put into question, other more widely accepted field sobriety tests can be harder to fight against.
How do I challenge probable cause?
When it comes to a DUI charge, New Jersey police officers can only pull you over if they have probable cause. However, what can be used as probable cause can be greatly exaggerated or even outright false. For example, if an officer simply witnesses you getting into your car after walking out of a bar, that is not probable cause. There must be clear and obvious evidence of violations of traffic laws for them to have a valid reason to pull you over.
In court, a New Jersey DUI lawyer can easily contest the validity of an officer’s testimonial pertaining to probable cause. In addition to challenging the legitimacy of an officer’s existing statements, they can also request any footage of the incident to investigate and potentially use to prove what actually happened. If it is proven that the officer’s reasoning for pulling you over was invalid, your DUI charge may be dismissed entirely.