Central Municipal Court of Bergen County Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

      New Jersey has among the strictest DUI / DWI laws in the nation.  A drunk driving conviction in the Central Municipal Court will result in large fines, can negatively affect certain professional careers, as well as your driver’s license for years, and can even land you in jail.  As such it is important to keep yourself safe when faced with these charges.  The law offices of Avery & Avery specialize in DUI / DWI defense, having practiced for over 40 years, as defense counsel, municipal prosecutor, and Municipal Court Judge (Ridgefield Municipal Court 1985 - 2000), with one of the best success rates in New Jersey.  For a free  initial consultation, please call 201-943-2445.  We regularly defend clients in all New Jersey municipalities including the Central Municipal Court.

What are the Penalties?

     The potential penalties for a DUI conviction depend upon your level of intoxication as well as prior offense status.  If this was for driving under the influence of drugs, the penalties will simply correlate to whether it was a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense, with the same corresponding penalties below:

1st offense with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08-.10%:

  • $250-$400 Fine + Assessments
  • 12-48 Hours in IDRC (Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center)
  • Possible Ignition Interlock Device on your Vehicle
  • 3 Month Driver’s License Suspension
  • Up to 30 Days in Jail

1st offense with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over .10%:

  • $300-$500 Fine + Assessments
  • 12-48 Hours in IDRC
  • Possible Ignition Interlock Device on your Vehicle (mandatory over .15%)
  • 7-12 Month Driver’s License Suspension
  • Up to 30 Days in Jail

2nd offense with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over .08%:

  • $500-$1000 Fine + Assessments
  • 30 Days Community Service
  • 24 Month Driver’s License Suspension
  • Minimum 2 Days in Jail and up to 90 Days
  • Screening and Evaluation by the IDRC
  • Installation of Ignition Interlock Device for 1-3 Years

3rd or Subsequent offense with a (BAC) over .08%:

  • $1000 Fine + Assessments
  • Possible Community Service
  • 10 Year Driver’s License Suspension
  • Minimum 180 Days in Jail
  • Screening and Evaluation by the IDRC
  • Installation of Ignition Interlock Device for 1-3 Years

     In addition to the above, for any DUI, the State of New Jersey will assess a surcharge against you in the amount of $1,000 for each of the following three years.

     Most often our Central Municipal Court DUI clients will have been given numerous tickets in addition to their DWI summons.  These are usually not as significant as the DWI itself and we have great success completely eliminating most if not all of these 'extras’ so as to avoid motor vehicle points.  Although there are no motor vehicle points assessed against you on the DWI - DUI  there will be insurance points which may greatly affect your insurance rate.  

Can I Win my Case?  Do I Need a Lawyer?

     The complex nature of these cases means it is best to hire an expert in DWI - DUI law.  There can be numerous defenses to all aspects of drunk driving cases, including lack of probable cause for the initial stop by the Central Municipal Court Police, together with dozens of technical defenses, which, when properly used may defeat the State's case and result in significantly reduced fines and suspensions and possibly a complete acquittal.  

I refused to take the Breathalyzer / Alcotest, what now?

     The penalties for a DUI refusal charge in Central Municipal Court are essentially the same as those above, simply depending on how many times one has been convicted DUI.  For the full penalties for Refusal, see here.  New Jersey has an implied consent law and under this statute you are required to submit to breath testing if suspected of drunk driving.  If you refuse to take the test you will be given a separate summons with additional fines and license suspension.  This ticket presumes you guilty of drunk driving.  Even with this presumption, the experienced drunk driving defense lawyers of Avery & Avery, often defeat the charges.  For more information call 201-943-2445.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I take the field sobriety tests?

     Unlike the implied consent law regarding the alcotest / breathalyzer which require you to supply breath samples, you are not required to take part in field sobriety tests.  The Central Municipal Court police use these tests only to accumulate evidence to convict you, they are not for your benefit.  While we always encourage clients to be cooperative and polite with the police,  we do advise that if you are not completely confident in their ability to perform the test, that there is no statute that compels you to take the field test. Please note that this only applies to tests in the field, and not to the Alcotest, for which there will be separate penalties if you refuse.  

I did fine on the field sobriety tests but failed the alcotest (breathalyzer), can I still be convicted?

     Often times the police will arrest you even after a perfect test.  Fortunately they need probable cause to arrest you and often cannot prove it without failed sobriety tests.  This means that if you did perfectly or near perfectly on the tests, we may be able to have the case thrown out for lack of probable cause.  

How does a DUI affect my professional license?

     For many professions a drunk driving charge will have no affect.  Normally it is up to the board of licensing for your profession, be it as an engineer, lawyer, doctor, etc, to determine if the DWI affects your ability to practice.  

How will a NJ DWI affect my CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)?

     CDL Drivers have far more stringent rules than regular drivers.  A drunk driving conviction could mean a revoked CDL.  Additionally, NJ CDL drivers have slightly higher penalties and easier proofs than regular drivers.  This means that a NJ DUI is  even more dangerous to your CDL and can greatly effect your livelihood.  If you are a CDL driver and have been charged for drunk driving, call today.

Is there any difference between DUI and DWI?

     The names are slightly different, Driving under the Influence (DWI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), but they cannote the same thing.  In New Jersey, they both refer to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, which is the drunk driving statute.  

I have a prior DUI / DWI in another state, will this count as a second offense or third offense?

     Depending on which state you were convicted in and what their drunk driving law is, it may or may not.  Generally if you were caught drinking in another state with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over .08, your prior conviction will count towards enhanced penalties.  There are fairly common situations however in which we can have your out of state DUI conviction not count as a prior offense in NJ.

I was completely ‘wasted’, is this case over?

     In many situations the police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  Even in these situations where the defendant was falling over drunk, the case can be thrown out if there was no probable cause for the initial motor vehicle stop.  Even if there are no defenses to the DWI - DUI, the Attorneys of Avery & Avery, still  often help clients by having other charges thrown out and reducing penalties to the minimums, which for a first offender could mean the difference between a 7 month driver’s license suspension and several years of license suspension, depending on the circumstances.

I barely drank or was sober but the machine gave me a high reading, is there anything I can do?

       This is an unfortunate situation which happens more frequently than one might think.  These cases often require bringing in an expert to testify as to the machines operation, certification and possible malfunction, potentially permitting the charges to be dropped.  Additionally, even with a high reading you may still have various defenses which only an experienced DUI Defense Lawyer would recognize.

Is there anyway around jail time if convicted?

     In most situations it is possible to avoid jail time completely.  In others there are a few methods usable to avoid the harshest consequences of jail such as the loss of a job.  These include time served in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center or inpatient rehabilitation program, amongst others.  These options are all at the discretion of the judge and must be argued for by your lawyer.

What do I tell the police? 

       We give the same answer to all clients regarding all criminal charges, say nothing!  Until you talk to your NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer.

How will my drunk driving charge affect my immigration status?

       This is not a simple question.  Depending on what your status is, and what your charges are, there can be vastly differing consequences including deportation from the United States.  Generally a conviction under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, is not considered as a removeable offense.  However under certain aggravating circumstances such as if you were driving on the revoked list, or in combination with other offenses, a NJ conviction for DUI could affect your immigration status.  If you are have been charged for DUI in Central Municipal Court, NJ and are an immigrant without citizenship, it is even more important to consult an experienced drunk driving defense firm.

I have been caught on this before is there anyway around the additional penalties?

     If your prior DUI was more than 10 years prior to your current charge, your penalties will be stepped down.  This means if it is your second DUI but your first one was 11 years ago, it will count as a first offense for sentencing purposes.  Also if you were indigent and without an attorney during your first DUI conviction you may qualify to have your sentence reduced if you were not counselled as to increased penalties on subsequent offenses.

It was in a school zone how does that affect the case?

     School Zone DUI cases present the strictest penalties under New Jersey's DUI law.  As such it is even more urgent to be represented by an experienced Drunk Driving Attorney if you have been charged with a Central Municipal Court school zone drunk driving offense.  The additional penalties include:   

  • For a first offense mandatory 1 year and up to 2 years loss of license, a large fine, and possible 60 days in jail.  
  • A second offense includes a large fine, 60 days community service, a minimum of 4 days in prison which can be extended up to 6 months, and a 4 year license suspension.  
  • A third offense in a school zone shall result in a large fine, 6 months in jail, and a 20 year license suspension.  

What happens with a DUI checkpoint?

     DUI checkpoints are a common device used by the Central Municipal Court police to catch drunk drivers.  NJ provides several protections against unlawful police checkpoints.  The police must comply with certain procedures to ensure the lawfulness of the stop.  If they have not complied with these procedures, any evidence collected may be excluded from prosecution.  This area is a common hub of activity and is subject to additional checkpoints.

What is the IDRC?

      The Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) is a program designed to educate about and deter drunk driving.  You must complete this program before your license may be reinstated.  For more information see here.

What is an ignition interlock?

      An ignition interlock is a device that is attached to your car and prevents it from starting if you have a BAC over .05, measured by its internal breathalyzer.  For more information click here.

What is a Drug Recognition Expert?

      In all Driving under the Influence (DUI) of drugs cases, except marijuana, the police must have you evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).  These are specially trained police officers who may recognize the symptoms of drug intoxication.  Their reports are used in lieu of a breathalyzer test.  

     In Marijauna cases, given its prevalence in society, the court allows the testimony of normally trained police officers to prove guilt of driving under the influence of pot.

They found marijuana in the car, what happens?

     For a full discussion on NJ Marijuana laws, see here.These cases are just like any other weed possession case.  The penalties remain the same, as does the possible 2 year suspension of drivers license.  Posession of pot in a motor vehicle opens many avenues of possible defense however.  There are many possible defects in the way the police handled the case that could result in suppression of evdience against you.  To determine if this is a possibility, please contact one of our lawyers at 201-943-2445.

What happens if I'm caught driving with a Suspended License after a Central Municipal NJ DUI?

     If you are convicted for driving on the suspended list, due to a DWI, you may be subject to an additional suspension period and various other fines.  See here, for a list of the penalties.

Are the police allowed to take samples of my blood without my consent?

     In certain instances the police may take your blood, if they do so in a reasonable manner.  The reasonableness of the withdrawal depends upon numerous circumstances, such as if whether there was consent, the amount of force used, etc.  Blood samples provide many possible defenses, including chain of custody, proper withdrawal, and consent / warrant issues.  

Does New Jersey have provisional or work licenses if convicted for a Drunk Driving?

     Unlike States like New York, New Jersey does not have any provisional or work licenses for those whose licenses are suspended due to a DUI / DWI conviction.  There are been attempts to make this the case, but it has been continually shot down by the legislature.  The best option is to hire an experienced NJ drunk driving defense lawyer and avoid the conviction in the first place.

     If you have an out of state license to begin with, rather than a NJ license, you may be able to obtain such a license at the mercy of those States.  You will, however, be barred from driving in NJ even if you can obtain a provisional license from that other state.

Central Municipal Court Information:

The Central Municipal Court is held at 71 Hudson Street, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. 

Phone:  201-336-6222, Fax 201-336-6212

Parking:  There is minimal street parking around the Court, however there are parking garages nearby, the biggest being located at 55 Court Street, Hackensack, NJ.  There is a parking lot underneath and behind the Court, however this is not public parking and you will be ticketed or towed.

Judges: Hon. Louis J. Dinice, Hon. Giuseppe Randazzo, Hon. Jason T. Shafron

Court Administrator: Miriam Losardo, C.M.C.A.

Prosecutors: Andrew Cimiluca, Esq., Elsbeth J. Crusius, Esq., Donald J. Lenner, Esq.

Public Defender: Richard Potter, Esq.

For more information on the Central Municipal Court, please visit: 

http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/index.aspx?NID=215


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