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New Jersey DUI Lawyer | NJ DWI Attorney | New Jersey DUI and DWI Attorneys | The Kugel Law Firm

New Jersey has one of the country’s most stringent laws on traffic offenses. Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) carry harsh penalties even for a first-offense conviction. New Jersey also bans plea bargaining for lower charges on DWI offenses.

Facing DUI charges in New Jersey can be a challenging experience but you don’t have to do it alone. At The Kugel Law Firm, experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer Rachel Kugel and her team provide aggressive legal representation for individuals charged with drunk driving offenses in New Jersey. Our skilled NJ criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and have the legal experience needed to provide you with the best possible outcome.

Call The Kugel Law Firm today at (973) 854-0098 to schedule a free strategy session.

Top-Rated NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Rachel Kugel Explains Drunk Driving Laws In New Jersey

In other states, criminal offenses are often divided into misdemeanors and felonies. This is not the case in New Jersey where misdemeanors are categorized as disorderly persons offenses and felonies as indictable offenses. New Jersey does not consider drunk driving or DWI as a criminal offense. That doesn’t mean there aren’t harsh penalties for it including the potential for a loss of license and jail time. 

In New Jersey, a DWI or a DUI is regarded as a traffic offense. A person charged with a DUI or a DWI in New Jersey is not entitled to have a jury trial. Instead, the case will be heard by a judge in municipal court who is responsible for deciding the outcome and determining the penalties based on the particular circumstances and elements of the case. 

Aggravating factors in a DUI case can include the amount of alcohol in the person’s system, whether there is a minor in the vehicle, or the number of prior intoxicated driving offenses they have committed if any.

New Jersey laws do not have a specified distinction between DUI and DWI cases. DUI and DWI are often used interchangeably to refer to alcohol-related traffic offenses. New Jersey’s statutes on drunk driving violations are under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.

Under New Jersey law, a person commits a DWI if they:

When there is evidence that a person is operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher they are presumed intoxicated under the law regardless of whether the person appears to be impaired. This is known as “per se” DUI. A per se DUI can land a person a conviction simply based on their BAC level. 

NJ laws restrict any kind of downgrading or commuting of charges through plea bargains. Prosecutors are not allowed to downgrade any charges and you will need a DUI lawyer who has the experience to get your charges dismissed or use relevant legal avenues to give you the best possible outcome on your case. The plea bargaining rules in NJ require a thorough understanding of how to navigate the charges in your specific case in order to achieve a dismissal, reduction in consequences, or reduction of the charge. 

If you have been charged with DUI in New Jersey, it’s important to understand the severity of the situation and the potential consequences of getting a conviction. Being convicted of a DUI can result in expensive fines, a jail sentence, and a mark on your driving record. To protect your rights, getting the help of a skilled DUI attorney is crucial.

Our team of dedicated DUI attorneys at The Kugel Law Firm have a deep understanding of the New Jersey legal system and the relevant DUI laws. We have a proven track record of success in DWI cases and are committed to protecting your best interests. We’re here to help.

Contact us today at  (973) 854-0098 to schedule a complimentary strategy session on your case.

DWI Lawyer Clarifies What BAC Is and Why It Is an Important Element of New Jersey DUI and DWI Cases

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures the amount of alcohol present in a person’s bloodstream at a given time. The amount is an estimate of the grams of alcohol per 100 mL of blood and is commonly used as a measure of alcohol impairment in DUI/DWI cases. Having a BAC level of 0.08% means that a person has 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 ML in their blood. A BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered legally impaired in most states, including New Jersey.

A person suspected of impaired driving can be stopped by a traffic officer or other law enforcement. While there are specific behaviors police officers look out for when making traffic stops, you do not have to be violating traffic laws to be pulled over for a DWI. Police will be looking out for significant markers or indicators that they believe determine whether you have been drinking and can conduct a field sobriety test before either letting you go if they believe you pass or taking you to the police station if they believe you fail.

A field sobriety test is conducted during a traffic stop in order for police to determine if they have probable cause to believe  a person is driving while impaired. These tests may also be used as evidence of impairment at trial. A field sobriety test can include the following:

  • The horizontal-gaze-nystagmus (HGN) test
  • The walk-and-turn test
  • The one-leg-stand test
  • Counting to a number or reciting the alphabet

While these tests can measure whether you are lucid enough to follow directions, they are not all accurate measures of a person’s level of intoxication. Only the first three are validated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a fairly reliable measure of intoxication. However, the test must be administered as precisely as possible. 

An officer can use a field sobriety test to establish probable cause and take you in for a chemical test that would be more accurate in determining your BAC. An officer can also use a breathalyzer test to see if you have a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Tests using blood or urine can also be used to determine a person’s BAC.

It is important to note that while BAC can and does indicate how much alcohol a person has in their bloodstream, there are other factors that can affect the BAC in a person’s blood, such as:

  • Medical conditions such as Auto-brewery syndrome
  • Whether the person has eaten recently and what they ate
  • The presence of other drugs and medication in the person’s bloodstream

As with a per se DUI case, a prosecutor may rely heavily on the person’s BAC test as evidence of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the traffic stop and arrest. However, if administered improperly, a blood or breathalyzer test can be excluded as evidence. If this is the case, your field sobriety test can be used as fallback evidence to establish impairment.

It is important to remember that submitting to a field sobriety test is not required by law and you cannot be ticketed if you refuse those roadside balance and dexterity  tests. An officer is also not obligated to inform you that you can deny the test. However, while a person can decline to submit to a breathalyzer (breath test) or field sobriety test during a stop, they can face penalties such as more expensive fines and longer jail time if they are convicted. It is vital to get the help of a skilled attorney who is familiar with the complexities of measuring BAC levels and who can build a strong legal defense. 

At The Kugel Law Firm, we work hard to investigate each case thoroughly. We understand the importance of each piece of evidence to establish a viable legal strategy and protect your rights. Our NJ DUI lawyers can help you understand the charges leveled against you and work hard to achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact our office today at (973) 854-0098 or fill out our online form to learn more about how we can help.

Satisfied Client Reviews

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khalid
I must admit I didn't think it was anyway I could have gotten around my DUI and REFUSING... I'm glad I chosen the KUGEL LAW FIRM.. (RACHEL)knock it out the park all charges dismissed and 4 other miscellaneous tickets as well. She's who you need worth ever Dollar and more...
jennifer
Rachel is a fantastic lawyer and was help to help resolve my DUI with the best poasible outcome. She explained everything to me in detail to help me understand all of my options. Additionally Linda in her office was always extremely responsive and helpful and they were just a pleasure to work with! I am very happy with the outcome of my case and would reccommend Rachel's services to anyone who needs them!
evangelis
I never been in a situation where it required a lawyer. So happy I went to the Kugel law firm. Rachel was supportive, honest, and cared more beyond just a check she was receiving from me. She checked up on me without me having to go serve for her. She always explained each outcome and possibilities and made me feel supportive during a horrific situation. Defiantly recommend to have you back and represent you in a case.
Shana
At a time when my options were limited to non-existent, I contacted Kugel Law firm. That’s when I met Rachel. I never needed a lawyer before and was unsure of where to start. Rachel and Linda were kind, empathetic, calm and always a phone call away. Thanks to her, my case received the best possible solution. My case was closed, fully dismissed. OVER! I highly recommend her, if you need help. Rachel is the one!
aaron
Helpful, kind, and had my best interest in mind all the way through. Mrs. Kugel has been extremely generous with her time explaining each step of the process clearly and in easy to understand terms. The Kugel Law Firm delivered results exceeding my high expectations, in other words, completely dismissed.
Matthew
I chose The Kugel Law Firm based on the reviews that are so good that it was a bit suspicious. But make no mistake - they are all well-deserved. No outcome in the court system is guaranteed but Rachel will go out of her way to fight for you. She is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to this stuff and on top of that, she is super friendly and always available to talk and break things down for you. If you've found yourself in the unfortunate situation of a DWI then look no further. I can't imagine anybody better. Thanks Rachel!
Robert
The level of knowledge, professionalism and service from Kugel Law is fantastic. Unfortunately, I've had experience with a number of firms over the years - Rachel and her team are top notch in comparison. I contacted, and spoke with Rachel, when searching and evaluating counsel for a family member. In a short period of conversation, I was comfortable, at ease and confident in their representation. They took a long view in managing a very difficult situation that ultimately resulted in a reduction of the charges that I never thought possible - a tremendous outcome from tremendous people.
Asia
This law firm turned a traumatic experience into a bearable one. Rachel and her staff were very communicative and honest about the process. That meant everything and also made us happy about our favorable outcome.
alex
I’m from California. I didn’t know who to turn too. Don’t know the laws and obviously don’t know the which roads to turn on in NYC. Thankfully I was able to get my DUI dismissed. Moral of the story, don’t drive with any alcohol in your system. Also check out Kugel Law Firm and Rachel and her amazing team if your in trouble.

DUI Lawyer Rachel Kugel Discusses Drug Impairment Cases

Driving under the influence of drugs or DUID is closely related and prosecuted similarly to a DUI or DWI would be in New Jersey. A person may be charged with a DUID if they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. The definition of drugs under the law includes both legal and illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, prescription and even over-the-counter medicine. If a drug impairs a person’s ability to drive safely, they can be found guilty of DUID.

In a DUID, being “under the influence” is defined as not having the same care and caution a sober person would have while operating a motor vehicle. Determining whether the drugs or the combination of drugs and alcohol negatively affected the driver’s ability must be established.

While a 0.08% BAC on a breathalyzer test can get you booked for a DUI, some law enforcement agencies will conduct an additional investigation if you test for 0.05% or less. However, it is important to know your rights, especially when you have an underlying condition that could be mistaken as being under the influence of drugs. Remember that a police officer can make a traffic stop if they think that your ability to drive is impaired and many conditions can be mistaken for drug impairment such as having an illness, fatigue, or sustaining an injury.

Being charged with a DUID can be a scary experience for a lot of people. A conviction can have long-lasting implications on a person’s professional and personal life and can also affect their relationships. If you or a loved one is facing DUID charges in New Jersey, it is important to get the help of an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable on the law regarding impaired driving offenses. 

At The Kugel Law Firm, we make it a priority to provide compassionate and knowledgeable legal representation to our clients. Our team of top-rated DUI lawyers leaves no stone unturned when it comes to investigating the circumstances of each case. We are dedicated to providing quality legal services and are here to help.

Contact us today at (973) 854-0098 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

DWI Offenses and Penalties in New Jersey

If a person is convicted of a first-offense DUI with a BAC of 0.08% to 0.09%, they may be subject to the following penalties:

  • A $250 – $400 fine
  • Up to 30 days imprisonment
  • Driver’s license suspension of 90-days or ignition interlock device in their motor vehicle for 90 days. 
  • Mandatory attendance of two 6-hour classes at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center
  • Payment of a yearly surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years

If a person is convicted of a first-offense DUI with a BAC of 0.10% or higher, they may be subject to the following penalties:

  • A $300 – $500 fine
  • Up to 30 days imprisonment
  • Driver’s license suspension of seven months or ignition interlock device in their motor vehicle for 7 months. 
  • Mandatory attendance of two 6-hour classes at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center
  • Payment of a yearly surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years

If a person in convicted of a first-offense DUI with a BAC of 0.15% or great, the may be subject to the following penalties: 

  • A $300 – $500 fine 
  • Up to 30 days imprisonment 
  • A mandatory driver’s license suspension of 4-6 months and the installation of an ignition interlock device during the suspension period as well as for 9-13 months thereafter. If the subject does not own a vehicle then they are subject to a suspension of 13-21 months. 
    • Mandatory attendance of two 6-hour classes at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center
    • Payment of a yearly surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years

If a person is convicted of a second-offense DUI, they may be subject to the following penalties:

  • A $500 – $1,000 fine
  • Two to Ninety (90) days imprisonment
  • Driver’s license suspension of up to two years
  • Mandatory detainment of 48 consecutive hours at a regional Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center
  • Payment of a yearly surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for two to four  years after restoration of driver’s license

If a person is convicted of a second-offense DUI, they may be subject to the following penalties:

  • A $1,000 fine
  • Mandatory 180 days imprisonment
  • Driver’s license suspension of 8 years 
  • Detainment in an alcoholism treatment program
  • Payment of a court-determined fee to an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center
  • Payment of a yearly surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for two to four years  years after restoration of driver’s license

DUI/DWI convictions also require payment of the following fees:

  • A  $100 license restoration fee from the Motor Vehicle Commission 
  • A $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge
  • A $100 Intoxicated Driving Program fee
  • A $75 Safe and Secure Community Program fee
  • A $50 Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee

A person who is convicted of a DUI with a minor aged 17 years or younger in the car will also be subjected to a disorderly person’s offense in addition to the penalties under a DUI/DWI. They may also be subject to the following penalties:

  • Driver’s license suspension of up to six months
  • Mandatory community service of up to 5 days
  • Potential jail time 

If a minor is inside the vehicle during a traffic stop for a DWI and you are found to have a BAC of 0.08, you may face additional charges of child endangerment.

Under New Jersey law, drivers give their implicit consent to a breath test when they are stopped for suspicion of a DUI. While a police officer is also expected to have probable cause when conducting a DUI traffic stop, refusal of a breath test can result in charges of breath test refusal.

Penalties for a Breath Test Refusal can include:

First offense

  • A fine from $300 to $500 including a $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge
  • Mandatory attendance of two 6-hour classes at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center
  • Payment of a yearly surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for 9-15 months or if the subject does not own a vehicle a suspension of 9-15 months. 

Second offense

  • A fine from $500 to $1,000 including a $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge
  • Mandatory attendance of a 48-hour class at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center
  • Payment of a yearly surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years. 
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to two years which must be consecutive to a second offense DWI conviction
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for two to four years after the restoration of driver’s license in addition to the period of license suspension

Third offense

  • A fine of $1,000 including a $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge
  • Payment of a yearly surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years 
  • Driver’s license suspension for eight years  the suspension must run consecutively to a third offense DWI conviction
  • Mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for two to four years after the restoration of driver’s license in addition to the period of license suspension
  • Mandatory attendance in an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center education program. 

The prosecution must establish the following elements in order to convict for refusal of a DUI breath test:

  • The arresting officer had probable cause to conduct the breath test and had reasonable belief that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • The defendant was arrested on suspicion of DUI/DWI
  • A formal request for the defendant to submit to a breath test was engaged
  • The defendant expressed refusal to submit to the test

While saying an outright ‘No’ can indicate your refusal to take the breath test, there is a precedence of the following circumstances being considered as refusal.

  • Not giving affirmation or remaining silent
  • Faking a breath test or not sustaining a breath enough for a test to get an accurate reading
  • Stalling the breath test
  • Providing conditional consent or accepting a test only on specific circumstances

It is important to remember that an officer is not required to read your Miranda rights when conducting a traffic stop or a field sobriety test. As much as they are not required to disclose that roadside DUI tests are voluntary, they may also not be able to disclose that refusal can result in charges. Knowing your responsibilities as a New Jersey driver is just as important as learning about your rights. If you have any questions, consulting an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer is crucial.

Regardless of which impaired driving offense you are facing, you deserve to have a skilled DUI defense attorney on your side. Rachel Kugel, a top-rated New Jersey DUI attorney, has helped dismiss the charges and protect the rights of many New Jersey residents from DUI/DWI charges. Our team at The Kugel Law Firm can help you understand your rights and can represent your best interests in court. You don’t have to face your charges alone.

Contact us today at (973) 854-0098 to schedule a complimentary consultation or fill out our online form. 

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Defending Against DUI Charges

Getting experienced legal representation is crucial if you have been charged with a DUI/DWI in New Jersey. A qualified lawyer may be able to use the available legal defense strategies in contesting your charges and preventing a DUI conviction. An attorney can challenge the evidence against you, the validity of the tests conducted to establish impairment, identify any violations of your rights that may have occurred during your arrest, and question the qualifications of the officers who administered the tests.

The result of a field sobriety test can be used as important evidence of impairment. However, the tests must be administered correctly and the overseeing officer must be qualified to administer the test. It is also important to remember that, while your refusal to submit to a field sobriety test may result in an officer arresting you it, is not a requirement to submit to field sobriety tests. It is also important to make sure that the place the field sobriety test is being conducted is well-lit and safe. A field sobriety test conducted in conditions that do not follow the administering requirements can be challenged.

A person’s BAC can be measured through a breath test or a breathalyzer, a blood test, or a urine test. Just as several factors can affect the BAC of a person, there are also many different factors that affect the accuracy of each type of test. Your attorney may be able to contest whether the calibration of the testing equipment is accurate, whether the person administering the test is qualified, and the time that has elapsed between the defendant’s last drink and the test being administered.

Certain medical conditions can mimic the symptoms of drunkenness and affect a person’s ability to perform field sobriety tests or blow into a breath test correctly. Therefore, if you have a medical condition that may have affected your performance on these tests – like an injury preventing you from walking in a straight line, it may be used as a defense in your case. People with vertigo or ear infections that affect balance may have compromised abilities that prevent them from passing the test.

It’s also worth noting that tests can be invalidated if the administering officer fails to account for the defendant’s physical condition. For example, persons 65 years old or older or those more than 50 pounds overweight should not be subjected to field sobriety tests. 

Every case is unique and the defense strategy your attorney will use will ultimately depend on the specific circumstances of your case. As such, consulting with a DWI defense attorney who will be able to use the appropriate defense strategy for your case is vital. Contact The Kugel Law Firm today to schedule a free strategy session with our skilled NJ DWI lawyers.

The Consequences of a DUI Conviction

A conviction for a New Jersey DWI can result in significant penalties, including fines, jail time, and a mark on your driving record. The specific penalties you may face will depend on the circumstances of your case and your prior history. 

If you are a divorced parent, having a conviction on your record can affect your chances of being awarded custody or visitation rights to your children. It can also be construed as irresponsibility on your part and can affect future career development. 

If you are a driver by profession or require a vehicle to get to and from work, your employment itself may be at stake. A DWI conviction can result in a lengthy suspension of your driving privileges, notwithstanding the prison sentence you can also receive. 

If you are not a citizen of the United States a DWI or DUI conviction could result in your removal or deportation or it may prevent you from becoming a naturalized American citizen.

The matter of your legal defense should not be left up to chance. New Jersey DWI attorney Rachel Kugel understands the importance of standing up for a person’s individual rights and works hard to provide the best defense possible for her clients. 

At The Kugel Law Firm, her work emphasizes providing compassionate but aggressive legal representation for individuals charged with DWI in New Jersey. Our team is dedicated to serving the community and helping New Jersey residents understand their rights and responsibilities under the law.

We have the experience and knowledge required to help you face your charges in court. We conduct a diligent examination of the facts and understand that each case is unique. We believe in transparency and professionalism and will discuss the law with you thoroughly to provide awareness of possible best- and worst-case scenarios.

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Call The Kugel Law Firm Today for Experienced DUI and DWI Defense

Led by top-rated New Jersey criminal defense attorney Rachel Kugel, our team is ready to answer any questions you might have regarding your DUI case. Contact The Kugel Law Firm today for a free strategy session at your convenience.

Call (973) 854-0098 or fill out our online form.

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