Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) sometimes seem like relatively minor charges. In many cases, nobody is hurt, but the police pull the driver over because they notice they are driving erratically or dangerously. However, a DUI or DWI conviction is not always an easy thing to bounce back from. The consequences of a conviction may follow for a long time after the police stop you.
DUI and DWI convictions can have long-lasting consequences on numerous aspects of your life. The DUI or DWI itself will be reflected in your driving history and may be used against you in any future DUI or DWI proceedings. A poor driving history could also cost you certain job opportunities or jeopardize your license. DUIs are often imposed alongside other criminal charges, and you may be left with a criminal record for the rest of your life.
The penalties and consequences that come after being arrested for a DUI in New Jersey are very grave. However, they are not impossible to overcome. With the help of our Atlantic City DUI defense attorneys, you can potentially minimize the long-term consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction. Schedule a free legal consultation with us today at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Call (609) 616-4956 to set up a meeting with our team.
What is a DUI Conviction In New Jersey?
Convictions for driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs are both covered under New Jersey’s N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50. In many states, the terms DUI and DWI may refer to different forms of intoxicated driving. Other states might only use one term of the other. New Jersey tends to use DWI and DUI almost interchangeably as the same code covers them.
Drunk driving is often charged in New Jersey when a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. This is known as a DUI per se and may be charged whether or not the driver was safely operating their car. This means that even if you are driving your car perfectly safely, but your BAC is .08% or more, you will be charged with a DUI.
Drivers may also be charged with a DUI or DWI when their BAC is less than .08%. Drivers who are under 21 or alcohol restricted due to prior DUIs can be arrested for a DUI with any amount of alcohol in their system. Other non-restricted drivers could be charged with a DUI if their intoxication prevented them from driving safely, even if their BAC was not at least .08%.
Drugged driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs is also charged under the same statute as drunk driving. Drugs are not measured in a person’s system the same way that alcohol is measured, so the BAC rule does not work for drugged driving offenses. However, if you are stopped by the authorities for unsafe driving and found under the influence of drugs, you will be arrested and charged with a DUI. You might also face additional criminal penalties related to drug possession.
If you were arrested for a DUI, your penalties may be severe and have a long-term impact on your life. Call our Atlantic County DUI defense lawyers for help fighting your charges.
What Are the Penalties for DWI in NJ?
After you are arrested for a DUI or DWI in New Jersey, you are very likely going to be asked to submit to chemical testing so that the police can get an accurate BAC measurement. While this might sound like a request you can refuse, it is not. You are legally required to submit to chemical testing after a DUI arrest under New Jersey’s N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50.2.
Your BAC results combined with your driving history will determine your charges. In general, the higher your BAC and the more DUIs you have on your driving record, the more severe your charges may be. A first-time offender with a BAC of at least .08% but less than .10% may be fined no less than $250 nor more than $400. They may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
A higher BAC typically means the penalties for your DUI increase. Fines will become more expensive, and the duration of any license suspensions becomes longer. Prior DUI conviction on your record will also cause your penalties to become worse. After a DUI arrest, call our Brigantine DUI lawyers for help. Our team can help you assess your case and fight your charges.
Will I Get a Criminal Record for Drinking and Driving in New Jersey?
After being arrested for a DUI or DWI, you might not have a criminal record, depending on your circumstances. In New Jersey, DUIs are considered traffic offenses, not criminal offenses. DUIs and DWIs are reflected in your driving history but not your criminal record. However, you could be charged for certain criminal offenses related to your DUI.
For example, if you were driving while drunk and accidentally struck another vehicle causing the other driver’s death, you could be charged with death by auto or vehicular manslaughter. This would be a separate offense from your DUI and considered a crime, so you would have a criminal record if convicted. Similarly, if your DUI was for being under the influence of drugs, you could be charged with criminal possession of controlled substances. Talk to our Cape May DUI defense lawyers about your case today.
Collateral Consequences of a DUI or DWI in New Jersey
In addition to legal and criminal penalties, there could be additional collateral consequences from your DUI or DWI. Your auto insurance might be affected by a DUI conviction, and you could face personal and professional setbacks. These problems are not imposed by law but might arise depending on your situation.
Drivers are required by law to have auto insurance in New Jersey. A DUI conviction might cause your insurance rates to increase, and you will end up paying more each month for your insurance. The consequences of a DUI can become very expensive very quickly. You could also face professional obstacles if a driver’s license is required for your job. Many drivers convicted of DUIs end up losing their license for a few months or even longer. This could cost you your job or future job opportunities, as many employers prefer not to hire drivers with DUIs on their records.
Our New Jersey DUI defense lawyers will help you fight your DUI charges and hopefully prevent some of the serious consequences of your DUI.
Call Our New Jersey DUI Defense Attorneys
If you were stopped and arrested for a DUI, you are facing numerous possible consequences with some serious long-term implications. Our Ocean City DUI defense attorneys could help you fight these charges and get your life back. Schedule a free legal consultation at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956.