DWI Lawyers in New Jersey
Drunk driving, which may also be termed as driving under the influence (DUI) or rather driving while intoxicated (DWI), is one of the gravest traffic offenses for drivers in New Jersey. It will inevitably end up making you look for New Jersey DWI Lawyer. To add on possible jail time, someone convicted of drunk driving may impact insurance rates, employment, and many other aspects of a person’s life.
Under NJSA 39:4-50, a driver who is found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more will be charged with DWI/DUI. The penalty depends on various factors, including whether it is a first or repeat of the offense, past traffic convictions, how much the BAC exceeds the legal limit and the circumstances that lead to that charge (e.g., accident versus traffic stop).
What are the Penalties and Fines associated with DWI?
- Jail time: the first conviction for DUI in New Jersey means potentially spending up to 30 days in jail. A second conviction within ten years can mean up to ninety days in prison, and a third can lead to 180 days in jail.
- The license is suspended: For the first DUI conviction, drivers may lose their license for up to 6 months. It depends on their BAC. The second conviction means the possibility of suspension of up to 2 years. A third conviction would mean losing one’s license for up to eight years.
- Surcharge: New Jersey charges a tax of $1,000 yearly for three years upon conviction for DUI ($3,000 total). The same surcharge will apply upon a second conviction. A third means a tax of $1,500 per year for three years ($4,500).
- IDRC: To add on jail time, a judge may order a driver to spend between 12 to 48 hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
- Fine: Drivers may face a $250 – $400 for a first DUI offense. Drivers with a BAC of more than 0.10 may be fined between $300- $500. The second offense, regardless of BAC, will come with a fine of $500 t- $1,000. A third offense may carry a fine of $1,000.
- Other fees: Drivers may also face over $500 in costs that are associated with a DUI conviction, including contributions meant for the Safe Neighborhood Service Fund (SNSF), Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund (DDEF), as well as Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF).
How do New Jersey Police able to Identify DUI Drivers?
New Jersey police will look for key driving habits and behaviors while determining when to pull someone over under suspicion of drinking while driving. The behavior doesn’t have to violate a particular law of traffic. For example, they can pull over a driver who seems to hesitate before passing through a green light or is going unusually slow on clear roads. Police will also stop cars that tend to drift side to side within a lane.
Once the driver has been pulled over, the officer will observe their behavior to determine whether they have been drinking. The officer may attempt to smell alcohol on someone’s breath or is going to check for redness in the eyes of the driver.
If some of those signs arouse further suspicions, the officer will ask the driver to submit to field sobriety tests. These tests may include the following challenges:
- Walking in a straight line while the heel of one foot is touching the toe of the other, then turning and repeating
- Watching a moving object with only the eyes while keeping the head still
- Keeping arms to the side when standing on one foot
Drivers who fail these tests will be placed under arrest for DUI. Many officers may also ask drivers to submit a breathalyzer test. If the test determines the driver is above the legal limit, they will be charged with a per se violation of NJ DUI laws.
What Happens When Someone Refuses a Breathalyzer Test?
Refusing to take a breathalyzer test is a very serious offense and will have dire consequences regardless of whether or not one has been convicted of DUI. It might include license suspension for almost a year and a fine of $300- $500—the required installation of an ignition interlock device.
How do New Jersey Police Identify Drivers Under the Influence of Drugs?
While the presence of alcohol in someone’s body can easily be tested during a traffic stop or arrest, determining if a person has been under drugs is a more daunting matter. Many kinds of drugs will affect a person’s ability to drive, and the exact effects may vary.
In N J, a driver suspected of DWI-drug will be taken to the police station, where he will be thoroughly examined by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). This specially trained officer will then administer a 12-step evaluation, which includes looking at pupils, reading muscle tone, and basic vital signs. Some common field sobriety tests may also be used.
What is Underage DUI in New Jersey?
Drivers under the age of 21 are held to a higher standard than those who are legally able to drink. People under 21 cannot have any trace of alcohol (0.01% BAC) in their bloodstream. Underage drivers with a BAC of less than 0.08% will face a lesser charge, commonly referred to as a Baby DUI.
This name is misleading! An underage DUI is serious and can result in a license suspension of up to 90 days, community service, and mandatory participation in a rehabilitation program. Drivers with a BAC of more than 0.08% will face the full penalties of a DUI regardless of age. Read More
How does a New Jersey DUI Affect Out-of-State Drivers?
Living outside the state does not shield one from the impact of a DWI conviction in New Jersey. The Garden State is one of many states participating in information-sharing agreements such as the Driver’s License Compact. This agreement means that any time New Jersey convicts an out-of-state driver of a traffic violation—no matter how small—it is communicated to other member states, who agree to record the offense. Even if one’s home state does not participate in the compact, the NJMVC is still likely to reach out and attempt to communicate the conviction.