DWI in NJ
7 attorney answers
First of all, SFSTs are not pass fail. They are looking for probable cause. But if you want to think of it as pass fail, you did not pass the SFST’s otherwise you could not be brought in to take the Alcotest. With .15 or above the new law does not favor you as you still get a suspension of 4-6 months. Finding a lawyer who can suppress the breath test could save your license. The stop issue requires the police to provide the recording of the tip and they must have corroborated the tip. So you may have numerous defenses.
Your reading of .16 is very high and you are in the highest tier for a DWI. That doesn't mean that you can't win your case but it certainly makes it a very hard case to win. A lot more information would be needed to be known to tell you if you could win your case especially we would need to know how many drinks you had the time you had them and what you had to eat that day. As for prices for attorney you can generally look at each attorney website and a good lawyer will advertise their hourly rate.. in general it's like anything else in life you generally get the time and quality you pay for. But hiring a good lawyer never guarantees you a result because statistics show that the vast majority of DWIs are lost. But without a good attorney that knows DWI law you will probably be another statistic. Most of us DWI lawyers offer a free in office consultation I suggest you set one up to discuss your case.
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This is what you do; contact one of us at AVVO--then we can discuss all aspects including fees in that context which is confidential. This is a Q&A forum and AVVO prohibits that time of dialogue here.
Here is the AVVO attorney locator link:
Robert Pentangelo, Esq.
The Judge and prosecutor in Howell are experienced and fair. That said any DWI case is a tough situation. Fortunately you come under the new DWI law that went into effect on 12/1. The good news is that the suspension periods have been radically reduced on a first offense if you install an interlock on your car. Twice the legal limit (.16) will still generate a suspension but only for 4-6 months before the interlock could allow driving. The old law was 7-12 months no driving. However if the reading can be suppressed or reduced below .15 the suspension periods are reduced further and the interlock allows almost immediate driving. Although all the kinks have not been worked out the new law basically allows you to contest the charge and if unsuccessful still drive. That was not the case under the old law. This forum is not conducive to explaining all the details of your situation or you numerous options. We are not allowed to discuss fees on AVVO. You are going to need to examine the stop, getting the 911 and dispatch tapes to corroborate any reason for a stop. There is case law defining what is allowed and what is not. If they thought you passed the FST they would not have arrested you. So you will need to contest their "observations". The MVR and body cam video must be examined on that issue. In in-station video is also needed to see how you were on flat ground and to check the operation of the 7110 Alco-Test. (the breathalizer) Those reading need to be attack. There are two ways to be convicted of DWI in NJ. If there was a legit arrest (a function of the issues mentioned above) and if a blow of .08 or higher is admissible, you are "per se" guilty. Without readings you can be convicted on the "observations" of the officer. If the readings are suppressed you may be able to beat the entire observation case. Even if they can convict you on the observations, if the readings are brought below .15 you in essence do not lose your right to drive. So contesting the case makes great sense, not to mention arguing for the lower end of the 4-6 months if they have their proofs. Most AVVO contributors offer free consultations. Call.
The judge and prosecutor in Howell are very reasonable. With that being said, plea bargaining on a DWI is not allowed. Your best bet is to discuss this further with an attorney. Most attorneys even offer free consultations. Best of luck!
Other attorneys have given you an idea of the penalties that you are facing. Suffice it to say that those penalties are substantial. You are facing a significant license suspension and lots of monetary penalties. However, there are certainly going to be defenses that can be raised, but you will need an attorney who is knowledgeable in this area to raise them effectively.
As for your question about fees, I cannot really answer that. The fees that attorneys charge vary and so do the reasons for those different fees.
I would be happy to discuss this further with you. If you would like to speak, please feel free to reach out to me.
Best of luck,