Month: October 2017

Dog Bites

New Jersey Attorneys Defend First-Offense DWIs

Don’t go to court expecting a “Mulligan”
Because New Jersey categorizes driving while intoxicated (DWI) as a traffic offense, too many accused motorists take their cases lightly. They think they can represent themselves, show a little contrition in court and leave with a slap on the wrist. It’s a rude awakening when they are hit with mandatory minimum penalties and learn that they have no option for traffic school. Retaining an experienced DWI defense lawyer can prevent you from making another mistake you could regret for a very long time. The Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg fights aggressively to minimize the effect of your DWI arrest. With us at your side, there will be no surprises. We come fully prepared to challenge the state’s case against you and seek the best results possible.

Penalties for first-offense DWI in New Jersey
If you are convicted of a first-time DWI in New Jersey, your penalty depends on your blood alcohol content level:

Standard DWI (BAC between 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent) — Your license is suspended for three months, and fines and fees will total about $3,900. You could go to county jail for up to 30 days and be forced to attend the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for 12 to 48 hours.
Enhanced DWI (BAC 0.10 percent or greater) — The court suspends your license for seven months to one year, and fines and fees can total as much as $4,000. You could go to county jail for up to 30 days and be forced to attend the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for 12 to 48 hours.
Additional enhancement (BAC of 0.15 percent or greater) — The court orders an ignition interlock device installed during your license suspension and for six months to a year following your license restoration.
Additionally, you should know that a first-time DWI conviction stays on your record and is used to enhance any subsequent DWI offenses.

Facing these kinds of consequences, you definitely don’t want to fight alone. Our attorneys diligently prepare your defense and come to court ready to challenge the evidence against you, including the constitutionality of your traffic stop, probable cause for your arrest and the administration of any BAC testing. In many cases, we can get a reduction in charges to reckless driving or driving with an open container or persuade the prosecution to drop the charges altogether. While no law firm can guarantee results, we make every effort to secure a positive outcome.


New Jersey Attorneys Offer Counsel for Open Container Violations

Bergen County DWI defense lawyers challenge illegal searches
In New Jersey, as with many other states, it is illegal to drive with an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of your car. The fine for a first offense is $200, and a second offense is punishable by a fine of $250 or 10 days of community service. If law enforcement stopped you and discovered an open container, someone in the car is going to be charged. It doesn’t matter if the container belonged to the driver or a passenger; it doesn’t matter if no one consumed alcohol from the container in the car. All that matters is that law enforcement discovered the container during a legal search of the vehicle. At the Law Offices of Richard S. Greenberg, we vigorously defend our clients by challenging police procedures on constitutional grounds, forcing the state to prove that the search was lawful.

How can a driver or passenger in NJ legally transport open containers?
New Jersey law prohibits possession of alcoholic beverage containers with the original seal broken and glasses or cups containing alcohol in the passenger compartment of a car. Safe areas of the car include the:

Space behind the last seat in a trunk-less vehicle
Passenger area of a chartered limousine or bus
Living quarters of a motor-home
Violations result in fines but no license suspension. You should ask your insurance carrier about its policy regarding open container violations.

Restrictions on searches of automobiles in New Jersey
Law enforcement must discover the container during a legal search that follows a legal traffic stop. Examples include:

The officer asks for your license and registration. Looking through the driver’s-side window, the officer sees a half-consumed bottle of wine standing in your cup holder.
You consent to a field sobriety test. An officer pats you down prior to initiating the test and discovers a hip flask.
After you submit to a preliminary breath test, the officer decides to arrest you for DWI. Standing outside your car, the officer shines a flashlight into the passenger compartment and discovers a can of beer on the floor of the back seat.
After finding probable cause to arrest you for DWI, the officer requests a warrant to search the car and finds a partially consumed bottle of alcohol under the driver’s seat.
However, the discovery of an open container may be void if:

The officer made a traffic stop for a discriminatory purpose, such as profiling
The officer made an intrusive search of the vehicle without a warrant. This would include ordering you out of the car and immediately rummaging through the passenger compartment, rather than conducting a field sobriety test.
Our attorneys are experienced with challenging police procedures. We regularly use police dash-cam videos and witness-produced cell phone videos to point out irregularities that raise questions regarding the constitutionality of traffic stops and vehicle searches.