Alcohol & Drug Treatment: Will it Help My New Jersey DWI Case?

alcoholics_anonymous.jpgLong before the New Jersey DWI case is over, clients wonder whether they should go to Alcoholics Anonymous or even into an alcohol or drug rehab facility, and whether that will help their DWI case.

Certainly, if you are having ongoing issues with alcohol or drugs and need help with the situation surrounding alcohol or drug use, you should absolutely seek assistance with the problem.

Whether it helps the DWI case is very different, and should not affect whether to seek help, if help is needed.

Generally, it is unlikely that going to AA or into rehab will change the outcome of a DWI prosecution, but it may help in sentencing issues with reference to discretionary jail terms. Demonstrating that you are seeking help for your problem and addressing the issues present cannot hurt in attempting to convince a prosecutor or a police officer to look more favorably on your circumstances.

For sentencing, on a first offense DWI conviction in New Jersey, jail can be imposed for up to 30 days. Imposition of jail is discretionary, not mandatory, on a first offense. Where it appears under the circumstances that jail may be imposed on a first offense, demonstrating to the judge that you have undergone rehabilitation treatment or have attended AA may be helpful in convincing the judge that jail is not warranted.

On a second offense DWI conviction, the sentence includes a minimum of 2 days in jail and a maximum of 90 days in jail. Again, where it appears that the circumstances will result in more than the two day jail term, showing that an effort is being made to address the alcohol and/or drug issues may convince the judge that additional jail above the 2 days should not be imposed.

For third offense DWI convictions, jail is mandatory for 180 days. The jail term can be reduced up to 90 days for alcohol-drug in-patient rehabilitation. Going to AA meetings would do nothing to reduce jail time in a third offense situation.

The bottom line is, if you have an ongoing problem with alcohol or drugs, seek help. If you have a DWI arrest, you must also seek a qualified DWI attorney to help you obtain the best results under the circumstances presented.