In New Jersey, drunk drivers can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). The penalties for this offense will vary based on the unique circumstances of your charges, your history of DWIs, and your degree of intoxication. Because so many variables may affect the nature of your DWI charges, it is hard to predict what kind of penalties you might face.
DWIs are charged according to factors including previous DWI convictions and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A first-time offender with a relatively low BAC will not be charged as severely as a repeat offender who was extremely intoxicated. Other factors, including injuries and property damage, are also considered and could even lead to additional criminal charges. The consequences of a DWI can be overwhelming, and their impact can be felt for years.
If you were charged with a DWI, you need help from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Talk to our Hamilton Township, New Jersey DWI defense lawyers about how to handle your case. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 to set up a free legal consultation with our dedicated team.
How Are DWIs Charged in Hamilton Township, New Jersey?
DWIs may be charged under several different conditions. Most people know that DWIs are charged when a person is caught driving with a BAC over the legal limit. In New Jersey, as in most other states, the legal limit is .08%. Once your BAC meets or exceeds this limit, you can be charged with a per se DWI. However, DWIs can also be charged when police reasonably believe that a driver cannot drive safely because they have had too much to drink. The driver’s BAC does not necessarily have to be over the legal limit in such a scenario.
Charges are assessed according to factors like your history of DWIs and the level of your BAC. According to N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50, a driver with a BAC of at least .08% but less than .10% will be fined between $250 and $400 for a first offense. They may also be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail. With a BAC of at least .10%, the driver may be fined at least $300 but not more than $500 and face up to 30 days in jail. Additionally, if your BAC is at least .10% but less than .15%, you must install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. If your BAC is .015% or higher, you must forfeit driving privileges for at least 4 months but no longer than 6, and you must install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle upon restoration of your license.
The charges and penalties for drivers with a history of DWIs increase the more DWIs they have in their record. The more DWIs in your past, the greater your fines and longer your jail terms. You will also lose your driver’s license for longer periods. Contact our Hamilton Township DWI defense attorneys for help with your charges.
Probable Cause for a DWI Arrest in Hamilton Township, New Jersey
Before being arrested for a DWI, the police must gather enough probable cause to support their belief of your intoxication. Probable cause comes from numerous sources, some of which may be used against you in court. However, if you believe that the police lacked probable cause supporting your arrest, we can challenge the validity of your arrest and subsequent DWI charges in court.
The police begin collecting probable cause the moment they see your vehicle on the road. Signs of intoxicated driving like weaving between lanes, speeding, or running through stop lights are sufficient grounds to conduct the stop. However, if the police suspect a driver is intoxicated, they need a bit more evidence before making an arrest.
Probable cause may come from observations of the police officers or DWI tests. Observations could be a driver’s slurred speech, the smell of alcohol in your vehicle, or open bottles or cans in your vehicle.
In some cases, the police will conduct field sobriety tests. These tests are small physical tests that are only difficult if you are intoxicated. Standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe in a straight line may be requested. If a driver cannot perform these tests or cannot follow the very simple direction, the authorities might suspect intoxication. The police could also ask you to perform a preliminary breathalyzer test to determine if alcohol is in your system.
Once the authorities have enough probable cause, they may arrest you for a DWI. However, insufficient probable cause could undermine your charges. Call our Hamilton Township, New Jersey DWI defense lawyers for help.
Chemical Testing Requirements for DWIs in Hamilton Township, New Jersey
Chemical testing includes several different scientific procedures used to measure a person’s BAC. Chemical testing commonly involves chemical breathalyzer tests, blood tests, and urine tests. Chemical testing is legally required, and drivers must submit or face additional consequences.
According to N.J.S.A. § 39:4-20.2, consent to chemical testing is implied by virtue of operating a vehicle on the roads and highways of New Jersey. Penalties for refusing to submit to chemical testing can be found under N.J.S.A. § 39:4-40.4a and include an immediate license suspension until you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
Your penalties may be upgraded if you have been arrested for DWIs in the past and refused chemical testing on those occasions, too. A second offense of refusal to submit to chemical testing will result in a license suspension of at least 1 year before you must install an ignition interlock device. For a third offense or more, you will lose your license for 8 years in addition to an ignition interlock device. Call our Hamilton Township, New Jersey DWI defense lawyers for more information.
Call Our Hamilton Township, New Jersey DWI Attorneys
If you are charged with a DWI, your penalties might be very serious, and your driver’s license could be in jeopardy. Our Hamilton Township, New Jersey DWI defense lawyers can help you fight your charges. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 to arrange a free legal consultation.