Ocean County DUI/DWI Attorney
Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a very serious offense. In New Jersey, the crime is punished by very high fines, license suspensions, and even a possibility of jail time. If you have been charged with DWI in Ocean County, talk to an experienced New Jersey defense attorney who can help you with your case. To talk to an experienced DUI/DWI defense attorney in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today.
New Jersey DUI/DWI Offenses
In New Jersey, the crime of drunk or drugged driving is “driving while intoxicated,” usually shortened to “DWI.” Other states call this “driving under the influence” (DUI), or may use both terms for different levels of drunk driving.
In New Jersey, as stated in N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while “under the influence” of:
- “Intoxicating liquor,”
- Hallucinogens, or
- “Habit-producing drug[s].”
It also criminalizes, specifically, driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of over .08%.
A BAC measurement determines, by weight, the percentage of your blood that is pure alcohol. As your body absorbs alcohol, this number goes up, and as it breaks down the alcohol, the number goes down. That means that this number can change drastically over time. Because of this, police use a breath test, or “breathalyzer,” to test your BAC quickly. In New Jersey, police usually use the Dräger Alcotest device to test your BAC.
Despite common understandings, you can be charged with DUI/DWI with a BAC under .08%. In cases of drugged driving, you would not have a high BAC. Even in drunk driving cases with a BAC under .08%, a driver may still be too drunk to drive safely, so police charge them with DWI anyway.
Because of this, and because breath test results may be challenged in court, police perform “Field Sobriety Tests” (FSTs). These FSTs often involve performing tasks that you should be able to do sober, such as balancing on one leg, walking a straight line, or tracking movement with your eyes.
Strangely enough, New Jersey’s DWI statutes also make it illegal to let someone else drive your car if they are too drunk or drugged. This means that, even if you were the passenger (or sober), you could still technically face DWI charges.
Hiring an attorney to help fight your case can pinpoint problems with the arrest and police testing to put holes in the prosecution’s case. Our attorneys understand filed sobriety tests, and where their failures are. Our lawyers also know how a breath test could be tainted or inaccurate. To properly challenge your case, it is always best to consult an attorney.
DUI/DWI Penalties in New Jersey
DWI punishments in New Jersey increase depending on the BAC. In all DWI cases, the defendant faces required information classes at New Jersey’s Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). Standard fines and court fees apply in every case. You could also face community service or supervision (similar to probation). The other fines and penalties also increase for second and subsequent offenses.
One possible penalty is the requirement of an “ignition interlock.” This device attaches to your car and requires a clean breath test before the car can start. Note that it is a serious offense in New Jersey to drive without an interlock if you were ordered to do so. It is also a serious offense to drive with a suspended license.
The fines, jail, and other penalties are listed below for each level of DWI:
- First Offense DWI, or First Offense, BAC Over .08%
This is the standard DWI listed under N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50 for any DWI based on alcohol or drugs, or a BAC over .08% (but under .10%). These cases face fines of $250 to $400 and up to 30 days in jail. There is a mandatory license suspension for three months. A court can also order you to drive with an ignition interlock for between six months and one year.
- First Offense, BAC Over .10%
This holds a $300 to $500 fine, a possibility of up to 30 days in jail, a license suspension between seven months and one year, and the possibility of six months to one year with an interlock.
- Second Offense (of any DWI)
These offenses have a fine between $500 and $1,000, jail time of at least 48 hours (up to 90 days), a two-year license suspension, and 30 days of community service. They also require an interlock for one to three years, or they may revoke all vehicle registrations and license plates for two years.
- Third or Further Offenses
This has a mandatory $1,000 fine, jail time of at least 180 days, and a 10-year license suspension. They also require an interlock for between one and three years, or may revoke all vehicle registrations and license plates for 10 years. Instead of 180 days in jail, it may be reduced to 90 days in jail and inpatient treatment at an approved drug and alcohol rehab program.
Contact an Ocean County DWI Lawyer Today
These penalties are nothing to risk to chance or face without an experienced attorney on your side. To fight your case, or help reduce your penalties as much as possible, talk to an experienced DWI attorney today. The Law Offices of John J. Zarych handle DWI cases in Ocean County and throughout New Jersey. Call us today for a free consultation at (609) 616-4956.