What Happens if You Are Charged with DWI Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50?

A drunk driving conviction in New Jersey can have intensely negative consequences, not only for your present, but reaching far into your family’s future.  This is especially true for teenagers, who could lose  invaluable opportunities to participate in school or work programs, and for commercial drivers, who risk losing their careers altogether.

If you or your teenage son or daughter was arrested for driving while intoxicated in New Jersey, you need move swiftly to fight the charges.  The DWI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can help.

Contact Our Atlantic City DUI Lawyers for a Free Consultation

When your reputation and freedom are on the line, you need a tough, skilled, and knowledgeable attorney fighting in your family’s corner.  At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our legal team has over 45 years of experience handling adult and juvenile DWI charges in Atlantic County, Cape May County, and the surrounding counties of New Jersey.  In more than four decades practicing criminal law, our attorneys have built a reputation for being formidable and innovative courtroom opponents.

We will put every moment of your arrest and detention under a microscope to determine whether your rights were violated.  We will challenge the accuracy of breathalyzer readouts, whether the arresting officer had probable cause, whether the sobriety roadblock was conducted legally, and all other aspects of the charges against you.  To set up a free legal consultation, call our law offices at (800) 508-9786 right away.  We are available 24 hours a day, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, and are prepared to make attorney jail visits to the Atlantic County Jail and other correctional facilities.

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What Happens When You Are Arrested for Drunk Driving?

When a person is arrested for intoxicated driving, he or she will be taken into custody at the police station.  Once the person is released, he or she will be receive a summons to appear in court at a future date.  The police must issue a summons within 90 days of the alleged drunk driving incident.

Most people think of a criminal case as a trial, but in fact, going to trial is only one stage of the process.  The first court date for a DWI suspect is called an arraignment.  Unlike a trial, the purpose of an arraignment is not to find the defendant guilty or not guilty.  The point of an arraignment is to formally inform the defendant of the charges, while giving him or her an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty.  The time, date, and location of your arraignment should be specified on the summons you received from the police.

It is critically important that you appear for your arraignment on time at the specified location.  If you fail to appear in court, the judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest, which will merely complicate your legal situation.  The best course of action is to appear at all court hearings with an experienced New Jersey DUI attorney by your side.  We will help prepare you for your arraignment and other court appearances.

New Jersey DWI Penalties: Fines, Jail Sentencing, and License Suspension

A driver can be charged with DWI in New Jersey when he or she drives a car or operates another motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) meeting or exceeding 0.08%.  A BAC as low as 0.04% can result in DWI charges for a CDL driver, such as a commercial trucker, while people under the legal drinking age of 21 can be arrested for DWI with a BAC of just 0.01%.

While DWI is a traffic violation and not a criminal offense in the state of New Jersey, make no mistake: if you are found guilty, you can still be fined and jailed, just as you would be for a criminal conviction.  Adult defendants can receive the following penalties for a first-offense DWI with a BAC of 0.08% or greater, but less than 0.10%:

  • Jail Sentence – Up to 30 days
  • License Suspension – Up to 3 months
  • IDRC (Intoxicated Driver Resource Center) – 12 to 48 hours
  • Fines and Fees
    • General Fine – $250 to $400
    • IDRC Fee – $230
    • Drunk Driving Fund Fee – $100
    • AERF (Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund) Fee – $100
    • Neighborhood Services Fund Fee – $75
    • Surcharge – $1,000 per year for 3 years ($3,000 total)

If the defendant’s BAC was 0.10% or greater, he or she is subject to increased fines and a much longer period of license suspension: anywhere from seven months to a year.  Penalties also increase for repeat offenses.  Additionally, if the DWI involves drugs, you could potentially face penalties for related offenses, such as possession of CDS (Controlled Dangerous Substances).

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Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

When you first got your New Jersey driver’s license, you gave your implied consent to future breathalyzer tests in the event of a suspected DWI.  By withholding consent, you are violating New Jersey’s Implied Consent Law.  While it is technically within your rights to refuse a breathalyzer test, doing so can result in the imposition of penalties similar to those which would be imposed for an actual DWI.

If you, your daughter, or your son was arrested for DWI in Atlantic City or the surrounding area, you should speak to an experienced drunk driving lawyer.  Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (800) 508-9786 to set up a free consultation.  We handle DUI charges in Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Pleasantville, Hammonton, Ocean City, Dennis Township, Wildwood, and more.  We will keep your information confidential.  Se habla español.