Haddonfield, NJ DWI Defense Lawyer
Having a DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction on your record can set you up for many potential issues in the future. While DWI is a traffic offense, many employers may still look at your DWI record, especially for careers in law enforcement, delivery, or transportation. If you were charged with a DWI in Haddonfield, NJ, it could be a potentially expensive experience after fines and potential jail time, and you could face serious hardships if you are unable to drive because your license is suspended.
For a free consultation on your DWI charges in Haddonfield, contact the Haddonfield DWI defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our DWI and criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience in criminal law, and may be able to help challenge the evidence and charges against you. For your free consultation with our attorneys, call (609) 616-4956 today.
Haddonfield, NJ DWI Definition
The crime of DWI is defined in the New Jersey driving code under N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50. The conduct criminalized by this statute includes:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol,
- Driving while under the influence of drugs,
- Driving with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% or higher, or
- Allowing someone else to drive while they are drugged or drunk.
This means that you can be charged for DWI, even if you were not driving. While it is rare to see DWI charges for allowing someone else to drive your car (or a car under your control), it is possible. In addition, you could be charged with DWI if you are asleep in your car with the keys in the ignition.
Though we learn that .08% is the “legal limit” for drunk driving, you can still face DWI charges with a lower level of intoxication. Because the law allows DWI charges for any level of “intoxication,” where you are too drunk to drive – even if you are under .08% BAC. In addition, you could still face DWI charges based on drugs, even if your BAC is low.
Police use more evidence than just your BAC to determine whether or not you were drugged or drunk. First, police observe your driving. Usually, police do not pull people over for DWI on its own; they usually see driving errors, such as swerving, speeding, or failing to stop at stop signs, which triggers the initial pull-over. After that, police can testify to what they see. Signs of intoxication they can bring to court may include:
- Slurred speech,
- Bloodshot eyes,
- The odor of alcohol on your breath,
- Drug odors,
- Stumbling/inability to stand,
- Inability to remember details or retrieve documents (drivers’ license, registration, etc.), and
- Any other signs that your coordination, reaction time, or mental ability is affected.
Police use procedures called “field sobriety tests” as another “proof” of your intoxication. These tests may include following an object with your eyes, standing on one leg, or walking a straight line. Your performance on these tests may work as evidence in court, alongside breath or blood test results, to prove your intoxication. These tests are not always very scientific, and may be challenged in court.
Punishments for DWI in Haddonfield
If you are convicted of DWI, you could face serious penalties. DWI is divided into two “tiers,” one for general alcohol intoxication or driving with a BAC of .08%-.10%, and a second for drug DWI or driving with a BAC of .10% or higher. There are different penalties depending on the tier of the offense, and whether the offense is you first DWI, second DWI, or third/subsequent DWI.
A first-time DWI based on alcohol or with a BAC of .08%-.10% can mean fines of $250-$400, 30 days in jail, and a 3-month license suspension. A first-time drug DWI, or DWI with a BAC of .10% or higher can mean fines of $300-$500, 30 days in jail, and a license suspension of 7 months to 1 year.
A second DWI (of either type) can carry a fine of $500-$1,000, 48 hours to 90 days in jail, and a 2-year license suspension – plus 30 days of community service. For a third or subsequent DWI, you face a $1,000 fine, at least 180 days in jail, and a 10-year license suspension.
For all of these offenses, there is also a potential of being forced to use an “ignition interlock,” which prevents a car from starting without a clean breath sample. For a second or further DWI, this is required for 1-3 years.
All DWI convictions also come with mandatory fees, the potential for supervised probation, and required drivers’ education and evaluation.
Haddonfield, NJ Drunk Driving Charges
If you or a loved one was charged with DWI in Haddonfield, talk to an attorney right away. To avoid the difficulties that a DWI charge could cause, you may need an attorney to help defend you against the charges. For a free consultation on your case, call the Haddonfield drunk driving lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 616-4956.