Sea Isle City DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer

New Jersey has some tough laws and penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. If you are charged and convicted of driving while under the influence, you could face fines over a thousand dollars and jail sentences ranging from 48 hours to 6 months.  The best way to avoid a DWI charge is not to drink and drive, however if you have been charged with DWI in New Jersey it is never a wise decision to try to defend yourself in court.

Hiring an experienced criminal law attorney may greatly increase your chances of having your charged lowered or dismissed altogether.

What Are the Penalties for DWI in New Jersey?

DUI DWI sobriety tests lawyer nj

The general penalties for drunk driving in New Jersey can range from jail time, suspension of your driver’s license, assorted fines, and fees, community service, going to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), and/or installing in your vehicle an ignition interlock device (IID) An IID acts like a breathalyzer that will prevent your car from starting if alcohol is detected.

The specific penalties that you may receive if you are convicted of driving while under the influence depend on factors like whether or not you had a high BAC, whether it was your first offense, and whether you were under 21 years old at the time.

The penalties for a first-offense DWI with a BAC of at least 0.08%, but less than 0.10%, include the following:

  • Sentence – Up to 30 days
  • License Suspension – 3 months
  • Community Service/IID/IDRC – 12 to 48 hours IDRC
  • Fines and Fees
  • General Fine – $250 to $400
  • IDRC Fee – $230
  • Drunk Driving Fund – $100
  • Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF) – $100
  • Surcharge – $1,000/year for 3 years ($3,000 total)
  • Neighborhood Services Fund – $75

If the driver’s BAC was 0.10% or greater, the penalties for a first offense are the same, with the following exceptions:

  • The license suspension increases to 7 months to 1 year.
  • The general fine increases to $300 to $500.
  • If the driver’s BAC was 0.15% or greater, they will have to have an IID installed in their car for the duration of their license suspension, plus an additional 6 months to 1 year after their license has been restored.

The penalties for a second offense within 10 years are:

  • Sentence – 48 hours to 90 days
  • License Suspension – 2 years
  • Community Service/IID/IDRC – 30 days of community service, 12 to 48 hours IDRC, and IID for duration of license suspension (2 years) plus an additional 1 to 3 years after restoration of license
  • Fines and Fees
  • General Fine – $500 to $1,000
  • IDRC Fee – $280
  • Drunk Driving Fund – $100
  • Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF) – $100
  • Surcharge – $1,000/year for 3 years ($3,000 total)
  • Neighborhood Services Fund – $75

The penalties for a third offense within 10 years are the same as the penalties for a second offense, with the following exceptions:

  • The sentence increases to 180 days (about 6 months).
  • The license suspension increases to 10 years.
  • Community service increases to 90 days.
  • The general fine increases to $1,000.
  • The surcharge increases to $1,500 per year for 3 years, for a total of $4,500.
  • If your son or daughter was under the age of 21 at the time of their offense, he or she may face the following penalties:
  • License Suspension – 30 to 90 days
  • Community Service/IID/IDRC – 15 to 30 days of community service, IDRC of a duration to be determined

“Possible combination of the minimum sentences above and select DUI mandatory fines and penalties, depending on the situation.”

The law is very strict and harsh when it comes to DWI in New Jersey and a judge will not hesitate to convict you of DWI. Therefore, we never advise individuals to attempt to negotiate themselves. We always advise hiring an experienced criminal lawyer to help navigate the difficult DWI laws and court process.

Criminal Records and Drinking and Driving

atlantic city criminal defense lawyer office

Under New Jersey law, drunk driving is not technically considered a criminal offense. Instead, it is a serious traffic violation and has been codified as so under New Jersey traffic laws. Because DWI is not a criminal offense, but rather a traffic violation, if you are convicted of driving while under the influence you will be given a criminal record, nor will information about the DWI be added to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.

However, that does not mean that there will not be any record of this offense. Your driving record which is maintained by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) can be viewed by the public and this can pose problems when it comes to employment and insurance.

While many conviction and arrest records have the potential to be sealed through a process known as expungement, New Jersey’s laws exclude DWI arrests and convictions from expungement eligibility because they are not criminal offenses.

Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers

As you might have noticed in the above penalties section, one of the potential penalties a person can receive for driving under the influence is to be assigned to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.

If you have been convicted of an alcohol or drug-related traffic or boating offense in New Jersey, then generally you must satisfy the requirements of the Intoxicated Driving Program (IDP) and the Intoxicated Driver Center (IDRC).

The Intoxicated Driving Program is a unit of the Division of Addiction Services of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. The IDRC’s are units of, or contractors to, the 21 counties. IDP schedules you for the 12- or 48- Hour IDRC program and notifies Motor Vehicle Services (MVS) when you have completed or failed to comply. Therefore, it is important that you comply with the requirements of this program and failure to do so can result in your driver’s license being revoked.

There are different lengths of time that you may be ordered to attend one of the IDRC.  If you are sentenced as a first-time offender, then you will be detained, educated, and evaluated for at least six hours each day on two consecutive days — which equals a total of 12 hours – in the county IDRC facility. If you are sentenced as a second-time offender and is not sentenced to jail or inpatient treatment, then you will be detained, educated and evaluated during a period of 48 consecutive hours in a regional facility.

If you are sentenced as a third-time offender for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then the municipal court may sentence you to jail or to an inpatient alcoholism treatment program or both.  Regardless of what the municipal court judge decides to do, the IDP will schedule the driver to appear at the 12 hours IDRC for a follow-up evaluation. The driver may also be required to participate in additional treatment or self-help. In all cases you must satisfy the program, fee and treatment requirements of IDP/IDRC before any type of driver’s license is restored.

In addition, the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will also send the driver a notice confirming your license suspension, and they will also bill the driver $100 for an attendance fee, $200 for a first offender fee, and a $100 for the restoration fee.   If the driver is referred to a treatment program, then he is also responsible for these costs.

Drugs Can Also Lead to a DWI Charge

criminal defense lawyer drug charges new jersey

A driver arrested for drugged driving in New Jersey will be charged with driving under the influence and subject to DUI penalties. The New Jersey DWI statute states in part:

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated
39:4-50. (a) Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, a person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood or permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control or permits another to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood[.]

As stated in the above statutory language, New Jersey’s DWI law is directed at the prohibition of “any narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” Some of the most common narcotic drugs include the following:

  • Heroine
  • Morphine
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • LSD

In addition, the statute also specifically mentions the following:

  • Acetone and acetate,
  • Amyl nitrite or amyl nitrate or their isomers,
  • Benzene,
  • Butyl alcohol,
  • Butyl nitrite,
  • Butyl nitrates or their isomers,
  • Ethyl acetate,
  • Ethyl alcohol,
  • Ethyl nitrite or ethyl nitrate,
  • Ethylene dichloride,
  • Isobutyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol,
  • Methyl alcohol,
  • Methyl ethyl ketone,
  • Nitrous oxide,
  • N-propyl alcohol,
  • Pentachlorophenol,
  • Petroleum ether,
  • Propyl nitrite or propyl nitrate or their isomers,
  • Toluene,
  • Toluol or xylene.

In addition, the statute also covers any other chemical substance capable of causing a condition of intoxication, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction or the dulling of the brain or nervous system as a result of the inhalation of the fumes or vapors of such chemical substance.

Narcotic drugs are commonly referred to as illegal drugs and include heroin, morphine, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and LSD. These drugs react differently when then enter the system.

Let an Sea Isle City, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Fight for You

If you or someone you love was arrested for DWI in New Jersey, you should strongly consider seeking legal assistance from a criminal defense attorney. In addition to handling legal paperwork, protecting your Constitutional rights, and helping you navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system, your defense lawyer will fight aggressively to have the charges against you dismissed or obtain an acquittal (verdict of not guilty).

The sooner you reach out to the Law Offices of John J. Zarych for legal help, the sooner we can start analyzing your case and formulating a defense strategy. Don’t wait to get trusted, respected legal representation in New Jersey: call our law offices at (609) 616-4956 today. Our line is always open, including nights, weekends, and holidays.