The penalties for a DWI conviction in New Jersey are harsh, even for a first offense. Those penalties may include jail time, a required ignition interlock, thousands of dollars in fines, insurance surcharges and a driver’s license suspension of up to a year. Note, too, that New Jersey does not give the option of a provisional, work or hardship driver’s license if your license is suspended for DWI.
However, depending on the facts of the case, there are defense strategies that may be applied.
The lawyers of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych defend the rights and freedom of in-state and out-of-state clients charged with drunk driving in New Jersey. Some basic questions should be asked in every DWI case. First, was the traffic stop legal? Police must have probable cause to stop a driver. When the legality of a traffic stop is successfully challenged, a motion to suppress could lead to the dismissal of the charge.
Another important question: did the officer have probable cause to administer a breath test? The results of a breath test could be suppressed if it can be shown that the officer did not have reasonable belief that the driver was under the influence while behind the wheel. Additionally, breath test machines — New Jersey uses the AlcoTest 7110 MK III — can return inaccurate results, and a thorough investigation may reveal that the breath test cannot be relied upon.
Another issue that comes up in many DWI cases is the driver’s refusal of a breath test. You can read more about that in our previous post, “Do I have to consent to a breath test in New Jersey?”