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Ways of fighting a drunk driving charge

Individuals in New Jersey who are accused of drunk driving may have a number of defenses available. Among the most common defenses are challenging the results of a Breathalyzer, blood or field sobriety test.

An attorney might also question whether the officer had probable cause to make the traffic stop in the first place. One's blood alcohol content may also rise over time after alcohol consumption, and the defense can claim that this occurred after the driver was no longer driving.

Less common are defenses that admit the driver was drunk but that the driving was done under extenuating circumstances. Drunk driving defenses such as duress or necessity argue that either the driver was forced to drive to avoid death or injury or that a greater harm would have resulted from not driving. Entrapment claims that the person was forced to drive by a police officer. Involuntary intoxication and mistake of fact take the burden off the driver by claiming in the first case that the person did not know they were given alcohol and in the second that they had reason to believe the substance they took, such as a prescription drug, had worn off. Finally, an individual might argue that they were not actually the driver or claim that the police violated their civil rights.

An individual who is charged with drunk driving may want to consult an attorney and discuss whether some of these defenses might apply. However, even if an individual is unable to use any of these defenses, there might be other avenues for reducing penalties. For example, it might be possible to enter into a plea bargain. In a plea bargain, an individual pleads guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. An individual might also seek to do community service instead of jail time or paying a fine.

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