New Jersey DUI and DWI charges are quasi-criminal offenses. Obtaining legal defense early can help you avoid thousands in fees and possibly even jail time.
Being convicted of a DUI or DWI offense in New Jersey — driving under the influence of driving while intoxicated — carries significant consequences that can affect your life. Some of these repercussions include mandatory driver’s license suspension, fines and surcharges, a permanent motor vehicle conviction and prison sentences.

DUI as a Quasi-Criminal Action

In New Jersey, a DUI or DWI is not considered a criminal offense. Rather, a DUI, alcohol or other drug-related offense punishable in court is called a quasi-criminal action. Nonetheless, DWI consequences can be severe — especially if your attorney is not experienced in handling these unique and complex cases.

Quasi-criminal offenses are “a class of offenses against the public ‘which have not been declared crimes, but wrongful against the general or local public which it is proper should be repressed or punished by forfeitures and penalties’” (State v. Laird, 25 N.J. 298, 302-03 (1957)).

One 1989 case, Vickey v. Nessler, helped the courts characterize traffic offenses as quasi-criminal for the purpose of “fundamental fairness and essential justice to the accused.” Defendants charged with DUI or DWI are entitled to the same protections anyone facing a criminal offense are afforded. The state must still prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. For this reason, it is essential that you contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible following an arrest to ensure that you are treated fairly in the eyes of the law.

The DUI and DWI Process: What Happens After Arrest?

After the police conclude their business, you will typically be released to a friend or relative who generally agrees to accept responsibility for you for the first 24 hours. The arresting officer will place a date on the ticket notifying you when to appear in court. This is usually within one week of your arrest. If you retain Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates as your attorney, you may not have to appear and the court will schedule your case for another appearance three to four weeks later.


During that time, our legal team will handle all communications with the police on your behalf. Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates will obtain documentation from the state, which includes:

Additionally, we may retain expert witnesses on your behalf to provide reports to offer in your defense. Sometimes the police don’t finish discovery and we’ll have to press the issue — just one of several reasons why it’s crucial to hire an attorney like Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates right after your arrest.

Entering a Plea

Once the discovery is complete, our attorneys will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s proofs, which may include probable cause for the motor vehicle stop, failing to comply with Alcotest and breath test procedures and/or missing evidence. Also, we will explore whether you were stopped by an NJ DRE, or Drug Recognition Expert, as this type of officer often claims to have determined your blood alcohol level via visual evaluation. In many DRE cases, We will advise you on whether to plead guilty or go to trial. As experienced N.J. DUI/DWI attorneys, it’s our job to also educate you on all the possible outcomes of your case before we appear in court.

Unfortunately, there is no plea bargaining drunk driving or refusal to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. In order to prevail against a DUI/DWI charge, you must show the state the weaknesses make it unlikely they will prevail.

Sentencing and Appeal

If you elect to go to trial, your case will be presented before a municipal court judge. New Jersey does not permit jury trials for DUI/DWI offenses. The state will present witnesses and our legal team will attempt to undermine the state’s case. If we’re successful, the charges will be dismissed.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty, the court will impose fines, immediately suspend your license and potentially put you in jail. If sentenced to jail, it is not uncommon for your sentence to begin immediately.

If you choose to appeal a DUI/DWI conviction, the appeal is taken to the superior court in the county where the municipality is located. For example, if you were arrested in Mount Holly, the Superior Court of Burlington County would hear your appeal. The court will decide the case anew based upon the facts and evidence presented in the municipal court. No new testimony or evidence is permitted during an appeal proceeding.


Exceptional Attorney!

Excellent representation! Daniel Rosenberg represented me on a traffic charge which was nearly impossible to get out of. He spent a long time consulting with me prior to taking my case. Clearly his knowledge and experience showed. From the time he walked into the court room, you could see that he was known and respected (that makes a difference). He defended my case as if it was his own. Essentially I can say that the rather serious traffic violation (which carried some pretty hefty fines, points...) was pretty much dismissed, downgraded to nothing. The outcome was better than expected! I walked out of court feeling great, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I really appreciate his diligence and expertise in representing me. If I should need an attorney again, Daniel is my pick! -A more then satisfied client
See full review

See More Reviews

Cost of a DUI in New Jersey

While the mandatory fines and suspensions for drunk driving or other DUI convictions vary depending on the offense number (first, second, third, etc.) and the circumstances of the case, there are several penalties and fines you can expect for all DWI charges:

The average cost of pleading guilty to DUI in New Jersey is approximately $4,000, not including any insurance charges you may fact, which could be an additional $1,000 or more per year for three years.

What’s more, each DUI or DWI charge comes with the potential for jail time. For a first offense, defendants will likely be able to avoid any jail time, but a second conviction for DUI or DWI in New Jersey comes with a mandatory jail sentence ranging from a minimum of 48 hours to a maximum of 90 days. It can be frightening and shocking to find yourself in a car accident; sometimes people depart before authorities arrive. The penalty for leaving the scene of an accident in NJ after driving under the influence is more severe. No matter your circumstances, having an experienced DUI/DWI defense lawyer can limit or avoid these consequences.

Our Defenses for DUI and DWI

Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates may utilize a variety of defenses to challenge DUI and DWI charges throughout New Jersey. Examples of these defense options may include:

In addition, we can also help you navigate several state resources related to driving under the influence charges:

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website: www.state.nj.us/mvc/

Insurance surcharge & judgments: 609-292-7500

Intoxicated driving programs general information: 609-588-3540

School IDRC scheduling: 609-588-3530, 609-588-3531

Suspensions and restorations: 609-292-7500

Protect Yourself From DWI Charges

Hiring an attorney as soon as possible following your arrest is your best shot against having a DWI charge permanently on your record. Not only is the entire Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates team dedicated to providing compassionate, aggressive legal services, but our principal Daniel Rosenberg is also one of only a select few lawyers in New Jersey certified to operate the Draeger Alcotest 7110 device. With this unique certification, our team can prove if the arresting officer did not follow all protocols before entering the Alcotest results in court.

If you’re looking for experienced criminal defense for DUI or DWI charges in New Jersey, call Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates today for a free consultation.

Call (609) 216-7400

Contact Us

Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates will not share any details on your case with those outside the law firm, subject to our confidentiality agreement.