Did you receive a DUI in New Jersey this past Labor Day weekend? If so, chances are you are not alone. Holidays like Labor Day are often celebrated with alcohol and while you may have thought you were safe to drive after a drink or two, a breath test or field sobriety test may have shown otherwise.
The penalties for DUI in New Jersey are severe, even if it is your first offense. However, the ultimate penalties you will face may depend on aggravating factors and mitigating factors.
Aggravating factors that could lead to increased penalties
Aggravating factors are circumstances surrounding your DUI that would make a court believe you should face a more severe punishment than what you would ordinarily receive otherwise. Some aggravating factors include:
- DUIs involving a motor vehicle crash
- A BAC of 0.15 or greater
- Criminal or administrative offenses already on your driving record
- Getting a DUI soon after you get your license back from a previous offense
- Arguing with the police during the DUI arrest
- Driving dangerously in the time leading up to your DUI stop
While it is not written in stone that you should face harsher penalties if one or more of these factors are present, the existence of an aggravating factor may be considered by the court if the court chooses to.
Mitigating factors can lead to minimum penalties
There are minimum penalties you will face if you get a DUI. However, the court may consider the following mitigating factors in determining whether you should receive the minimum penalties imposed by law, such as:
- A BAC below 0.08
- Having committed no other driving offenses
- Cooperating with the police during your DUI stop
- Careful driving
- Efforts made to be rehabilitated
- The impact a harsher penalty would place on your family and ability to hold down a job
The court is not required to consider these mitigating factors. However, the court has the discretion to consider these mitigating factors when determining what penalties should be imposed following your DUI.
Understand your rights when you get a DUI
Getting a DUI in New Jersey can be a stressful experience. After all, the steep fines, loss of your license and possible jail time can all seriously impact your ability to go to work and take care of yourself and your family. If you receive a DUI, you will want to make sure you understand your rights so you can develop a solid defense strategy in your favor.