New Jersey DWI Plea Bargain Options

At some point, after being arrested and charged with a DWI in New Jersey, the defendant will almost certainly have to make a decision as to plead guilty to the charge and accept the punishments to follow or proceed to trial with the help of an attorney. What commonly will occur is, with the help of a DWI lawyer, the defendant will move forward and try to come to an agreement with the prosecutor regarding the charges entered against him or her. While the phrase “plea bargain” is often used, plea bargaining is not permitted for DWI charges in New Jersey. Plea bargaining is used to dismiss or downgrade a charge at the discretion of the prosecutor in criminal matters. The only way to downgrade or dismiss a drunk driving charge is if there is an issue preventing the prosecution from being able to legally prove that the defendant was driving drunk. It is the task of the DWI attorney to review the case and present the prosecutor with defenses that call into question the State's ability to prove its case. Often an experienced DWI lawyer can poke holes in the prosecutors case which can lead to a prosecutor agreeing that the burden of proof cannot be sustained for a DWI conviction and at that time there is often an opportunity for a plea to a lower charge such as reckless or careless driving. This is not a plea bargain, but often if the states burden cannot be met the State can meet its burden on the reckless driving or careless driving which accompany the DWI charge.  

Lowering Penalties


Even though you cannot have your DWI charge plea bargained to a lower violation, there may be some options for you, with the help of an attorney. If you are facing a DWI conviction, you can suffer a range of penalties, some of which are at the discretion of the judge. For those penalties that a judge has the ability to adjust, your attorney can try to convince the prosecutor to recommend the lowest possible punishment for you. They will use his or her bargaining skills and knowledge of the DWI laws to argue for a modification of the sentence that may have significant benefits to you. DWI penalties are all mandatory, but some of the mandatory charges have a range of penalty. One example would be in a first offense, there are ranges of license suspension for certain BAC values. If you are found guilty of a first offense DWI with a BAC above 0.15 percent, the judge is not permitted to allow you to serve under 4 months of license suspension, but the judge does have discretion to allow you to do 4 months rather than up to 6 months. The judge also has discretion with ignition interlock devices in some instances as the length of time it must remain in your vehicle. These examples of the range of the penalties are quite significant and an experienced lawyer can help you get the best possible result.  

Call A DWI Attorney Before Pleading Guilty To DWI

Although "plea bargaining" a DWI charge to a less severe traffic violation is not permitted in New Jersey, the type of bargaining over the adjustable penalties for a DWI conviction is impossible without the help of an experienced DWI attorney who is familiar with the complicated laws regarding DWI charges in New Jersey.

The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are here to help with your DWI. Call 732-372-0820 today for a FREE consultation and one of our DWI lawyers and we will advise you of the best course of action for your DWI case.