If you or a loved one have been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, you need immediate legal representation. If you are convicted of drunk driving, you could face severe consequences.
A DWI in New Jersey often involves alcohol but can also include controlled substances. Even allowing someone you know is intoxicated to drive your car may be charged. New Jersey imposes a .08% legal BAC limit, but drivers with lower limits may also be charged in some cases. The penalties for a DWI depend on your history of DWIs and your BAC in your current case—the more DWIs on your record, and the higher your BAC, the greater your penalties. An attorney can help you fight your DWI charges and prevent the court from using old DWI charges against you during sentencing.
A DWI can wreak havoc on your life, but you should not have to suffer forever for one mistake. To learn more about your case in a free, confidential case review, call The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 616-4995.
What Constitutes a DUI/DWI in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, according to N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50(a), a driver may be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08%. However, even if your BAC is lower than .08%, but the driver still cannot safely operate their vehicle due to their intoxication, they can still be charged with a DWI.
You can also be charged with a DWI for driving under the influence of controlled substances. While there is no BAC test for controlled substances, a police officer can arrest you if they suspect you are under the influence of controlled substances while driving. Our New Jersey DWI attorneys have experience with both alcohol and controlled substance-related DWIs.
In many states, the term driving under the influence (DUI) is used to describe this kind of offense. In New Jersey, it is not uncommon to hear the terms DWI and WUI used interchangeably. Some out-of-state drivers are confused when they are charged with a DWI, as that name is not used (or refers to something different) in many of our neighboring states. Typically, DWI and DUI refer to the same offense in New Jersey.
DUI Charges Our New Jersey Lawyers Can Handle
Being charged with a DWI can lead to severe consequences, especially if aggravating factors surround your case. Thousands of people are injured in DUI-related car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other vehicular crashes every year. New Jersey strictly prohibits operating a vehicle while under the effects of alcohol. As such, the state has imposed harsh rules to punish drunk drivers for their wrongdoing. Therefore, it is best to have skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced legal representation by your side. Some of the DUI charges our New Jersey DUI lawyers can handle include:
- High BAC (Breath Alcohol Concentration) charges
- Breathalyzer refusals
- Repeat DUI offenses
- Underage DUI
- DUI/DWI charges
The Law Offices of John J. Zarych have the knowledge, experience, and skill to help you against your DUI and DWI charges in New Jersey.
Are You Facing DUI/DWI Charges in New Jersey?
If you have been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, you can face severe legal consequences. The state has stringent laws limiting the amount of alcohol a person can have in their system when operating a vehicle. For instance, if you are pulled over by a police officer and your BAC is higher than .08%, you can be placed under arrest and charged with a DWI.
However, the BAC limits set forth by state law can be harsher for some drivers. According to New Jersey law, truck drivers cannot operate their vehicles if their BAC is .04% or higher. Furthermore, if you are under 21, you cannot have a BAC of .02%.
There is little room for error when it comes to DUI and DWI laws within the state. If you are a commercial truck driver or teen charged with DWI, having a legal representation by your side can make the difference between enjoying a normal life and facing all the consequences associated with your charges.
What Are the Types of DUI/DWI Charges in New Jersey?
Not all DWIs are the same. While many drivers swear by the rule regarding a .08% BAC, this is not the only standard for charging DWIs in New Jersey. When a driver is stopped by law enforcement with a BAC of at least .08%, this is often referred to as a DWI per se. Whether or not the driver could safely drive, they can be charged with a DWI. For drivers with a high tolerance for alcohol, the .08% legal limit might seem low, but it applies to all drivers.
Drivers with a lower “tolerance” can still be charged with a DWI even if their BAC is not quite .08%. If the police suspect a driver has been drinking and cannot safely operate their vehicle, the police may arrest them even if their BAC is below the legal limit. For example, a person with a smaller build and lower tolerance who rarely drinks may find themselves inebriated and unable to safely drive with a BAC of only .06%.
You can also be charged with a DWI for driving with controlled substances in your system. Controlled substances usually cannot be measured in your blood without medical testing, like a blood draw. Instead, the police may arrest you for a DWI if they believe you are too intoxicated to drive and under the influence of controlled substances. The controlled substances do not have to be illegal or illicit. You can be charged with a DWI if you took too much cod medicine or if your prescription medication inhibits your driving.
You can also be charged with a DWI even if you were not driving, but you allowed someone you knew was intoxicated to drive your vehicle. It might take a little time for the police to investigate and get back to you, but you can be charged if you let a friend drive your car while you know they are too intoxicated to drive.
DUI/DWI Penalties, Fines, & License Suspension in New Jersey
If you are found guilty of a DUI or DWI, you may face several penalties. These state-imposed punishments can affect your everyday life and carry long-lasting consequences. The extent and severity of your penalties will depend on whether you are a repeat offender and your BAC.
Penalties often include a combination of fines, driver’s license suspension, jail time, and ignition interlock devices. The severity of these penalties depends on the severity of your case. For a first offense DWI with a BAC of at least .08% but less than .10%, you may be fined $250 but no more than $400, face up to 30 days in jail, and be made to drive with an ignition interlock device in your vehicle or lose your license.
Repeat offenders with higher BACs face increasing levels of penalties. For example, a third or subsequent DUI may lead to a $1,000 fine, a jail term of no less than 180 days, and the loss of your license for 8 years.
Whether you are charged with your first DWI offense or have a history of DWIs, you should contact an attorney immediately. Our New Jersey DWI defense lawyers can help you take stock of your situation and determine what kind of penalties are on the table.
DUI/DWI Sentencing in New Jersey
Sentencing for DWIs or DUIs depends on several factors. First, the courts will consider how many DWIs you have on your record. The more DWIs, the greater your penalties are likely to be. However, the courts may only look back so far. Typically, DWIs older than 10 years are not considered.
Second, if your DWI charges involve alcohol, your BAC will factor into your final sentence. Under the statute for DWIs, the courts will penalize DWIs differently if they fall into the following ranges:
- Your BAC is at least .08% but less than .10%.
- Your BAC is at least .10% but less than .15%.
- Your BAC is at least .15% or higher.
Your history of DWIs and BAC level are considered together. The highest penalties are reserved for DWI charges involving a history of DWIs and a high BAC. To make sure you are sentenced fairly, our New Jersey DWI defense attorneys can work to prevent the court from considering factors that should be off-limits, like very old DWIs.
Your penalties may also be much greater if you committed other violations in addition to the DWI. For example, having a minor passenger in the vehicle during a DWI or injuring another driver or pedestrian in a crash may lead to greater penalties and possibly additional criminal charges.
What Are First, Second, and Third Offense DUIs/DWIs?
First DUI/DWI Offense
Sentence: Up to 30 days in jail
Fines: Up to $500
License Suspension: Up to 1 year
Second DUI/DWI Offense
Sentence: Up to 3 months
Fines: Up to $1,000
License Suspension: 2 years
Third DUI/DWI Offense
Sentence: Up to 6 months
License Suspension: 10 years
As you can see, the consequences of multiple DWI convictions can lead to the suspension of your license for up to 10 years. Additionally, you may have to pay different surcharges separate from any imposed fine. For instance, you may have to pay surcharges for things such as municipality fee, motor vehicle restoration fee, intoxicated driving program fee, and other surcharges. These surcharges can translate to hundreds of additional dollars that you may have to pay.
Can a New Jersey DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer Help Me?
Having skilled and experienced legal representation by your side can help you challenge your DUI charges or even have your charges dropped. Our knowledgeable DWI and DUI lawyers can help you contest your drunk driving charges by:
- Challenging your breathalyzer test results
- Challenging the legality of your detention
- Challenging the legality of a blood test
- Taking your case to trial
Being charged with a DUI or DWI does not mean you will automatically face the consequences associated with the crime. That is why it is of the utmost importance to retain the services of a skilled lawyer who can challenge the legality surrounding your charges. Imagine you are pulled over by a cop who asks you to take a breathalyzer test. The test results show you have a BAC over the legal limit. A skilled lawyer can help you challenge your charges by proving that the breathalyzer was defective or was not calibrated correctly according to law.
Contact Our New Jersey DUI/DWI Lawyers Offering Free Case Reviews Today
The consequences of a DWI can be devastating whether you are a first or repeat offender. Turn to the professional, dedicated, aggressive legal counsel of New Jersey DWI and DUI defense lawyer John J. Zarych. To discuss your case in a free, confidential case evaluation, call The Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4995.