What Happens If a Pennsylvania Resident Gets a DWI in NJ?

If you were arrested for drunk driving or drugged driving while visiting New Jersey from Pennsylvania, you need a local attorney who is familiar with DUI laws in New Jersey. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, we are skilled Atlantic City DWI lawyers with over 45 years of combined experience representing Pennsylvanians and other out-of-state drivers in New Jersey DUI cases, including repeat offenders, first-time offenders, drivers under 21, and commercial truck drivers.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident who was charged with drunk driving in New Jersey, contact us online today to set up a free consultation. You can also reach us by calling the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 625-3006. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide assistance with out-of-state DWI charges in New Jersey.

What Happens if You Get Arrested for Drunk Driving in NJ?

Every day, thousands of commuters cross back and forth between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, traveling from Philadelphia and its suburbs to cities like Camden, Atlantic City, and Cape May. Many people are arrested during rush hour, when the roads are packed with heavy traffic and closely watched by police officers. Pennsylvania drivers can also be charged with DUI while visiting Atlantic City’s casinos, vacationing on the Jersey Shore, or driving to class at Rutgers or other universities in New Jersey. No matter what business brings a Pennsylvania resident to the Garden State, the consequences of a DUI arrest in New Jersey can be severe – including jail time, costly fines, and license suspension. These penalties are discussed in greater detail below.

It is important for out-of-state drivers to understand that New Jersey has jurisdiction over drunk driving offenses that, allegedly, occur within the state’s borders. That means if a Pennsylvania resident gets arrested for DWI in New Jersey, he or she must also go to court in New Jersey – and, if convicted, will face the penalties that New Jersey imposes. While traveling to New Jersey can be a hassle, it is critical to appear in court whenever summoned, as failure to do so can result in the issuance of a bench warrant for your arrest for “failure to appear” (FTA). You should also take care to select an attorney who is qualified to handle DWI cases in New Jersey, since it is in New Jersey’s courts that you will be tried.

What is the NJ DUI Statute?

While some crimes are prosecuted under federal laws, DUI cases normally involve state statutes, which vary from location to location. For example, New Jersey has different DUI laws than Pennsylvania, which is one of the reasons it is so important to hire an attorney who is licensed to practice in New Jersey. Attorneys who practice in other states may lack the familiarity with New Jersey laws and court procedures necessary to handle your case effectively.

The New Jersey DUI law, or DUI statute, is N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50. In New Jersey, the offense is called “driving while intoxicated” (DWI), whereas other states usually use the phrase “driving under the influence” (DUI). Though the language differs, both describe the same offense: operating a motor vehicle, such as a car, truck, or boat, while you are under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances (such as marijuana), or both. You can be arrested for DWI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) meets or exceeds 0.08, or if you have a lower BAC (such as 0.06) but are driving in an unsafe or impaired manner. New Jersey also prohibits refusing a breathalyzer test, which can result in additional penalties.

New Jersey Penalty for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)

The penalties for drunk driving or drugged driving can be severe, even if it is the driver’s first offense. Examples of potential penalties for a first-offense DWI in New Jersey include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 48 hours of jail time
  • A maximum fine of $400
  • An additional set of fines that, together, add up to more than $300
  • Court-ordered community service
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), which is like a breathalyzer machine installed in your personal vehicle
  • Mandatory driver education programs
  • Probation
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for a period of up to three months or 90 days

These penalties can increase if the driver has a history of prior offenses, if the driver had a high BAC (0.10 or greater) at the time of the offense, or if there were other aggravating factors.

Defense Attorneys for Pennsylvania Drivers Charged with a DUI / DWI in NJ

You need aggressive and strategic legal representation if you have been charged with drunk driving in New Jersey while visiting or commuting from Pennsylvania. Do not wait to start discussing your case with a skilled defense attorney for out-of-state DWI charges. Contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych online today to arrange a free legal consultation, or call (609) 625-3006 to speak with an attorney.

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