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Hello, I have a friend who just got charged with DUI in

Hello, I have a friend...
Hello,

I have a friend who just got charged with DUI in Paramus NJ. Legal Limit is .08, his level was .20. He was driving a rental car because his car was in the shop. There was also an accident at scene. He did not know the person he got into an accident with. Can he recieve an Assault by Auto charge during the hearing. This is his 1st offense. How much should he pay for a lawyer.
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
9/15/2013
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 28,694
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hello Jacustomer,

Here is the statute for Assault by Auto in New Jersey.

2C:12-1c(1) A person is guilty of assault by auto or vessel when the person drives a vehicle or vessel recklessly and causes either serious bodily injury or bodily injury to another. Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the fourth degree if serious bodily injury results and is a disorderly persons offense if bodily injury results.

(2) Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the third degree if the person drives the vehicle while in violation of 39:4-50 or 39:4-50.4a [these are the DUI statutes] and serious bodily injury results and is a crime of the fourth degree if the person drives the vehicle while in violation of 39:4-50 or 39:4-50.4a and bodily injury results.

(3) Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the second degree if serious bodily injury results from the defendant operating the auto or vessel while in violation of 39:4-50 or 39:4-50.4a while:

(a) on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property;

(b) driving through a designated school crossing

(c) driving through a non-designated school crossing knowing that juveniles are present.

Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the third degree if bodily injury results from the defendant operating the auto or vessel in violation of this paragraph.

So whether he can be charged with an assault by auto will depend upon the condition of the driver of the other vehicle. If he sustains injuries, or sustains serious injuries, this potentially can be a very serious charge for your friend. A crime of the third degree in NJ, for example (intoxicated driver and the victim was injured seriously) can carry a sentence from 3 to 5 years in prison and a hefty fine of up to $15,000. A crime of the 4th degree is up to 18 months in jail. Probation is potentially available for either offense if he wants a plea.

He should have a lawyer because although the DUI itself is not an indictable offense in NJ and only carries a maximum jail possibility of 30 days, how serious this case will be is as yet unknown and can get very serious, indeed, as I've indicated already above and as you can see for yourself in the statute.

Lawyers charge by the amount of time they figure that they will have to spend on the case, how serious the case is, and whether it's likely to be resolved by a quick plea or go all the way to trial. Lawyer fees vary all over the country, but the average attorney bills out his services at at least $200/hour and more in some parts of the country.

So if this turns out to be indictable he can expect to pay several thousand dollars for a defense lawyer, while if it goes forward only as a DUI (a disorderly person's offense in NJ), the charge would be signifcantly less.

The New Jersey State Bar Association's Legal Referral service can give you a more specific ballpark figure for your part of the country. From there, for a fee, they can also refer him to an attorney. The referral is around $50 and includes a free half hour consultation with the lawyer.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

The gentleman who he got in an accident with had no serious injuries. He just went to the hospital to get his whiplash, minor cuts to be checked out. My friend spoke to an attorney and was quoted $10k. Is that too much

Hi,

It sounds a bit high to me, unless your friend wants to try the case. But the case also sounds like an indictable offense.

The other driver does have injuries and your friend had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream. So, assuming that the other driver's condition does not worsen, which it can do, he's looking at least at a felony of the 4th degree. And, of course, on a different front, he may face civil liabilities as well, which may have been factored into the lawyer's quote as well.

I would do some comparative shopping, but as I've said, this case can get serious, and he may end up having to spend real money to get himself a decent defense lawyer who can protect him in criminal court while doing damage control on the civil front as well in case he's sued..
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 28,694
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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