Pleading Guilty in a New Jersey DWI Case
In New Jersey, there are only two potential pleas to your DWI charges: guilty or not guilty.
The Problem With “Guilty”
Pleading guilty to DWI is, obviously, an admission of guilt. In reality, it is giving up on your case. Even if you did drink before getting behind the wheel, pleading guilty will often cause more long-term problems for you than if you were to fight the charges.
Consider the Penalties
- First offense: First offenders with a low BAC of .08 or .09 have very little reason to plead guilty. Not only will you be subject to all of the penalties associated with a first offense, you must plead guilty to both the DWI and the refusal, which the prosecutor is unable to dismiss under New Jersey law.
- Second offense: If you have one prior DWI, it is unlikely that you would want to plead guilty. You will lose your license for two years and be subject to all of the other penalties of a second offense.
- Third offense: A third or subsequent DWI should not be pled guilty except in extreme circumstances. A guilty plea will result in a six-month jail sentence, a 10-year loss of license as well as other serious penalties.
The only time you should even consider pleading guilty to a DWI is after hiring an experienced DWI lawyer who determines that there is no chance at all of successfully beating your case.
Not Guilty Plea: Sending a Message
A plea of not guilty tells the prosecution and the court that you want to fight the case. With this plea, you are standing up and saying that you want your attorney to challenge the state’s proof.
If you are facing DWI charges in New Jersey, do not stand by and let the charges against you ruin your life. Work with an experienced advocate who will fight for you every step of the way.