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Drunk driving charges and penalties can vary between states

Drunk driving charges carry serious consequences. One New Jersey man is receiving a painful reminder of this. The Milford, New Jersey, man was caught driving 74 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. To make matters worse, he was traveling with four children, all under the ages of 15 years old. Police say in addition to his drunk appearance, he failed several field sobriety tests that were conducted.

In New Jersey, drunk driving charges are tried in a municipal court before a judge but in the absence of a jury. This deviates from the protocol of most states. This is because drunk driving laws and penalties can vary from state to state.

Many residents of New Jersey, including the man currently facing charges, make the short drive to New York on occasion. Drivers from New Jersey in New York should be warned that there are differing penalties in New York. One law to be particularly mindful of is Leandra's Law. This law makes it a felony offense for even first-time DUI offenders to drive drunk with children 15 years of age or younger.

As a result of this, the New Jersey man is now facing felony charges as a result of being charged with violating Leadra's Law. However, being charged with a drunk driving offense, either in New Jersey or elsewhere, is not the same thing as being convicted of the offense.

Individuals facing charges can question breathalyzer readings and issue field sobriety challenges. Defending against such charges could mean seeing a reduction in charges or penalties. As always, it is important for the accused to remember that they have the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel, even when faced with drunk driving charges.

Source: Pearl River Patch, "Police: N.J. Man with 4 Children in Car Charged With Felony DWI," William Demarest, Sept. 19, 2012

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