Drunk driving laws in New Jersey — driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) — are among the tightest in the nation, including a ban on DWI plea bargaining. Your first conviction of drunk driving can cost you hundreds of dollars in fines, jail time, and loss of driving privileges
A DWI conviction stays on your record, available to prospective employers, loan officers, college officials and other organizations checking your background.
Drunk Driving in New Jersey
In NJ, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08%, as proven through breath, blood or urine tests. The limit is 0.04% for truck, bus and other commercial drivers. Further, if you had any amount of alcohol and police think your driving is negatively affected, you can get arrested for drunk driving.
A person younger than 21 may be found guilty of DWI with any detectible amount of alcohol in their blood while behind the wheel.
It is also a crime to operate a motor vehicle when impaired by a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug. Driving offenses based on use of drugs it is referred to as driving under the influence of drugs (DUI).
Penalties for DWI and DUI increase in severity with subsequent convictions and include prison time plus thousands in fines.
A DWI criminal defense lawyer at Spodek Law Group can provide you with expert legal representation to fight these charges:
Our criminal defense attorneys handle these cases throughout the state. We accept all major credit cards for our clients’ convenience.
The Impact of the New Jersey DWI Statutes NJSA 39:4-50
New Jersey’s courts have defined “intoxication” or “being under the influence” as a “substantial deterioration or diminution of the mental faculties or physical capabilities of a person” from ingestion of alcohol or drugs. Where New Jersey legislation is concerned, driving under the influence (DUI), drunk driving, and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are the same thing.
You cannot plead to a lesser offense if when charged with DWI in New Jersey. Upon conviction on DWI charges, you lose your license. You cannot even obtain a limited driving license if you are convicted of DWI and face hundreds of dollars in fines and incarceration.
By law, a driver is considered to be intoxicated if they register a 0.08% on a breath or blood test. But, in New Jersey, a driver can be convicted of DWI. If they have ingested any amount of alcohol and the court is satisfied through a police officer’s testimony that the driver exhibited a “substantial deterioration or diminution of the mental faculties or physical capabilities”, you could face conviction also.
Prosecutors are professionally obligated to get convictions in DWI cases. Their job is not to sympathize with you. Nevertheless, they recognize that it will be more difficult to prosecute when the accused has an attorney.
Penalties for Drunk Driving Convictions in New Jersey
Penalties for violation of New Jersey drunk driving laws are severe and grow harsher with higher BAC and additional offenses, including:
DUI / DWI First Offense
BAC of 0.08 to 0.09 percent:
With a BAC of 0.10 percent or more:
Any DWI / DUI conviction also costs you the following:
If a DWI / DUI occurred in a school zone or school crossing and for a parent or guardian convicted of driving while intoxicated with a child 17 years of age or younger in the vehicle, penalties increase. The latter is a disorderly persons offense that costs you your driving privileges for up to 6 months and community service.
Refusal to Take a Breath Test
Driving motor vehicle on a public road or highway in New Jersey means you implicitly consent to submit to a breath test if suspected of DWI. A police officer must have reasonable grounds to think that you’re driving while intoxicated to justify collecting a breath sample. Nonetheless, refusing to submit to a test can result in mandatory penalties.
No mandatory jail time exists for a second offense of refusal.
To get a conviction for refusing a breath test, the state must demonstrate that:
What Constitutes Refusal To Submit to a Brethalyzer Test in NJ?
Silence. Although an individual has the constitutional right to remain silent, New Jersey courts have held that this right does not apply to requesting consent to a breath test. Silence is almost always construed as a refusal.
Short Samples. A refusal charge can be filed if you “fake” blowing to give a breath sample or cannot provide sufficient air volume or maintain volume for the necessary time to register a valid reading.
Outright Refusals. Refusing consent for a breath test with a flat “No” or another negative response. Police are not required under these circumstances to read the second paragraph of the Standard Statement requesting consent, which advises the accused that they will be charged with refusing the test.
Delaying or Stalling Administration. Tactics that are clearly intended to delay the efforts to start the test constitute refusal. State v. Widmaier, 157 N.J. 475 (1999) establishes that an individual suspected of DWI has no right to delay breath testing.
Conditional Consent. New Jersey courts have held that responses other than “Yes” or “I will” can be construed as refusal. Responding with “If…”, “Can you tell me…” or anything other than an affirmative and unconditioned agreement to take the test can is classified as refusal.
Getting Your NJ DUI Charges Dismissed
Charges and conviction for drunk or drugged driving in New Jersey can have a drastic and long-lasting affect on your life. No matter the circumstances surrounding your DWI / DUI arrest, you have a right to and deserve expert legal counsel that seeks the best available results for you.
The earlier the DUI defense attorneys at Spodek Law Group can get involved in your case, the better the opportunity to challenge the charges you face. Here’s what we can do:
If your first conviction is for refusal to submit to testing instead of a DWI, then New Jersey law says you have to be sentenced as a first offender. However, if your previous conviction is for a DWI, and then you are charged with a refusal, then this will be considered your second offense and the penalties will be much harsher.
Our lawyers can make certain that the law is applied fairly in relation to the specific circumstances of your case. This necessitates a defense attorney with intimate knowledge of the legislation, and who has a relationship with local prosecutors and judges that ensures their arguments will be heard and taken into account. It also requires a defense attorney whose firm permits them to spend the time and resources required to properly investigate and fully challenge DWI charges.
Call Spodek Law Group to speak to a DWI/DUI lawyer in New Jersey right away.
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