What Happens To Your Driver’s License After A DWI Charge
You should know that just because you’ve been charged with DWI does not mean that you have been found guilty of a DWI offense. After a DWI arrest, you do not immediately surrender your driver’s license. As a result, you are free to drive your car until (or unless) your case has been resolved through a conviction.
Depending on the circumstances of your case and on what decision you want to make, I have a few different strategies that can be used to prepare you for a license suspension. The most commonly-used strategy among them is to push back your court date for a couple of months so that you have time to get your affairs in order.
For example, if you have to have an interlock device installed in your car, I try to organize and prepare everything before going to court in order to minimize the time you will be without your license. In these cases, we’ll often push back the court date until you’re able to have the installation completed. Then, once your guilty plea goes through, you don’t have to wait for the interlock device to be installed before being able to drive.
Information Needed To Prepare Your Defense To A DWI Charge
To start building your defense, your attorney will need basic information such as your phone number, email address, home address, a copy of your driver’s license, and a copy of the summons. (If you no longer have the summons, that’s okay. We can locate it on the Municipal Court portal with your driver’s license number.) I will also need to know if you have any vehicles registered in your name, which may be important at the time we resolve the DWI.
This is because, depending on the disposition of your case, you may have to install an interlock device on your car. I need to know specifically what vehicle the court wants to have that interlock device installed on, as it would have to be either a vehicle that is registered to you or one that you have permission to use.
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I would also like to know about your medical history, as it may be pertinent in preparing your defense. (For example, if you have asthma, or if you had surgery or an injury that you failed to disclose.) Illnesses and surgeries may have impacted your performance of the SFSTs, and this can help to defend you against a false DWI allegation.
Finally, I need to know whether or not this is your first DWI offense. If you are found guilty of a subsequent DUI, it can affect the consequences of the charges. By being informed of these things, I can better advise you about what might happen.
The Role Of Your Attorney In The Early Stages Of A DWI Case
As your attorney, I’m your advocate and your representative. It is my job to gather all evidence and formulate the best possible defense that I can. To give you the best result, I‘ll review every aspect of the evidence with you, explaining the pros and cons of your case. I’ll take the time to explain the potential consequences of accepting a plea offer. Or, if you decide to proceed forward with a trial and lose, I explain these potential consequences as well.
Although I formulate the best possible defense for my clients and prepare each case as if it would go to trial, it is your responsibility to decide how you would like to proceed. I will never allow you as my client to accept or take a plea offer without ensuring we have strategized the best possible defense for you.
Preparing To Take A Plea Offer Or Losing Your Driver’s License
After receiving the facts, documents, testimonies, and other types of evidence, (and reviewing the entirety of it with you), I’ll present the potential options and provide you with information as it relates to each of your options.
For example, if you decide to take a plea offer that requires you to have an interlock device installed in your car, I will give you all the necessary information for reputable and approved interlock installers that are located in New Jersey. What’s more, if the court requires you to lose your license for a period of time and you need additional time to make arrangements before that period of license suspension, I do my best to work with the courts to postpone the hearing.
What The Prosecutor Has To Prove For DWI Conviction
Almost all DWI charges arise from a traffic stop, which ultimately leads to your arrest for suspicion of operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. After this point, the state must establish that the officer had probable cause to stop your vehicle and arrest you for driving under the influence.
“Probable cause” means that the officer had a reasonable basis to act, and this usually involves having a reasonable suspicion that you violated the law. In court, the state must establish probable cause by a preponderance of the evidence. This means they have to prove that there is a greater than 50% chance that the charge is true. Once probable cause has been established, the state must prove both of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction:
- That you operated or intended to operate a vehicle.
- That you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or that you had a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08%.
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The most common way for testing blood alcohol content (BAC) is through a breathalyzer. The Alcotest is the most commonly used machine to test blood alcohol content in New Jersey. Before the state can introduce the results of the test for the court to consider, it must establish the below requirements:
- That the machine or breathalyzer used was working properly and properly calibrated
- The officer conducting a breathalyzer has operated the machine properly and was certified by the attorney general to use it
- There was no radio frequency interference or other factors that might affect the results of the tests of the machine
- That the test was performed accurately, correctly, and within the standard operating procedures as defined in various New Jersey case laws and statutes
For more information on Driver’s License Consequences Of A DWI Arrest, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (908) 428-7006 today.