The drunk driving defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych understand driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in New Jersey. One of the focuses of our practice is fighting to help those accused of drunk driving in places like Galloway Township fight the charges against them and protect their driving record.
If you or a loved one was charged with drunk driving in Galloway, NJ, it is vital to take your case to a defense attorney for help protecting your rights. The Galloway Township DWI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych may be able to take your case and fight the traffic stop, the breathalyzer results, and other evidence against you and seek to have DWI charges dropped and dismissed. To schedule a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices online today, or call us at (609) 625-3006.
Drunk Driving Laws in NJ
New Jersey’s drunk driving statute, N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50, makes it illegal to operate a vehicle if you are too drunk to drive. This includes having a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) over the “legal limit” of .08%, but you can also be charged with DWI if your BAC is under .08% or you refused a breath or blood test. You can technically even face DWI charges if you were not driving.
The DWI statute in NJ applies to any driving while “under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” The statute says that you can be charged if your BAC is .08% or higher, but you can also be charged with DWI if your BAC is under .08% but you are still too drunk to drive. Charging you with this general intoxication DWI does not even require a blood or breath test – police need evidence of your intoxication and lack of safety behind the wheel, but not your specific BAC if you were under .08%.
Under these laws, you can also face charges for drugged driving. That means you can have no trace of alcohol in your body, but you can still face charges for driving while under the effects of marijuana, cocaine, other illegal drugs, or even some prescription medications.
Technically, New Jersey’s drunk and drugged driving laws can also apply to people who were not physically driving. First, the statute specifically allows charges against someone who allows a drunk or high person to drive their car. That means that if you let a drunk friend drive you home, you and the driver can each face drunk driving charges. Second, you merely need to be “in control” of the car to face DWI charges. That means that if you pull over to sleep in your car, you can still face drunk driving charges if you had your keys with you or if the car was on, but not driving, when police found you.
Fighting DUI/DWI Charges in New Jersey
When you face drunk driving charges, you should hire an attorney to help you with your case. Fighting the charges in court often takes sophisticated strategies and legal defense techniques that our attorneys may be able to help you with. Among other potential defenses, there are three common approaches to challenging DWI charges: fighting the traffic stop, fighting the field sobriety tests (FSTs), and fighting the blood or breath test.
When fighting the traffic stop, your attorney will use relevant legal principals to argue that the police stopped you illegally. Police can only pull you over for a traffic stop if they have reasonable suspicion that you were committing a crime. Swerving, running a stop sign, or speeding could be proof that you were committing a traffic offense, but without this kind of evidence, the stop and any arrests or evidence stemming from it could be thrown out.
When challenging the field sobriety tests, your lawyer will question the police about how they performed the tests and whether they were fair. Some FSTs require very specific, complicated instructions, and a police officer who states these instructions differently may taint the test. Some police also use non-standard FSTs or unscientific sobriety tests to determine your level of intoxication, and these might not be admissable as evidence because they are not generally accepted as reliable.
Blood and breath tests may be wildly inaccurate if the test or laboratory was tainted. Blood tests also require a search warrant, and police cannot perform a breath test without first arresting you. Under these and other rules, a blood or breath test could be thrown out if police violated your rights.
Our attorneys work with these rules and other common problems with DWI cases to fight for our clients’ rights and work to get charges dropped and dismissed.
Call Our Galloway DWI Defense Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one was arrested for drunk driving or drugged driving in Galloway Township, New Jersey, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our attorneys may be able to fight your case and work to have your charges dismissed. To schedule your free consultation, contact us online today or call us at (609) 625-3006.