New Jersey driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws can carry strict penalties that can include license suspensions, fines, MVC surcharges, and even potential jail time. If you were arrested at the Jersey Shore for drunk driving or drugged driving, talk to an attorney about your case. There are plenty of ways to challenge the legality of the traffic stop, breathalyzer results, and other factors that can help you overcome DWI charges.
For a free consultation on your DWI case, contact the Wildwood DWI defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Our attorneys have decades of experience fighting drunk driving charges and other offenses throughout NJ. To schedule your free consultation, contact our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.
Fighting DWI Charges in Wildwood
New Jersey’s DWI offenses can mean losing your license, paying fines, and going to jail. Even if you are an out of state visitor to the Jersey Shore, you might still face license suspensions in your home state if you get convicted for DWI in New Jersey. New Jersey has the power to revoke your ability to drive within the borders of New Jersey, but PA, NY, and other states have rules that will suspend your home state’s license if you are charged with DWI/DUI in another state. In addition to these penalties, you could face high fines and jail time, so it is important to talk to an attorney about your case.
Our attorneys have handled numerous drunk driving cases and understand many of the ways to put holes in the government’s DWI case against you. First, our attorneys work to challenge the traffic stop. If the police that pulled you over had no evidence of a traffic violation that they could point to, their traffic stop may be illegal. Similarly, the evidence that they observed, such as the odor of alcohol on your breath or failure to perform field sobriety tests, may not be enough to support a DWI arrest. If there are legal problems with either of these steps, your stop and arrest should be suppressed, and the case against you may need to be dropped.
If you underwent a breath test or blood test, our attorneys will work to challenge the legality and results from these tests. The US Supreme Court has ruled that a blood draw requires a separate search warrant, but that police can use a breathalyzer as part of the arrest. This means that any blood test done without your consent or a valid search warrant could be illegal evidence. Alternatively, the results of the test could be tainted by poor lab processes or uncalibrated breathalyzers.
Our attorneys also work to help our clients by negotiating with police and prosecutors to drive down sentencing to help our clients avoid some of the harsher penalties for DWI offenses.
DWI Crimes and Penalties in Wildwood
New Jersey’s drunk driving crime is called “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) instead of “driving under the influence” (DUI). This statute includes both alcohol-based and drug-based “intoxication.”
To decide whether you are “intoxicated” under the legal definition, the police and prosecutors have two options. First, you are intoxicated if your BAC (blood alcohol content) is .08% or higher. They use blood and breath tests to calculate your BAC, and this “per se” intoxication is the basis of most DWI charges. If police do not have a breath or blood test or the results show you were under the “legal limit” of .08%, you can still be charged with a DWI for “general” intoxication. This means the police rely upon observations they made and the results of field sobriety tests to determine that you were too intoxicated to drive safely. This can apply to drug or alcohol DWIs.
DWI also requires operation of a vehicle. In most cases, drivers are arrested for DWI while actively driving. However, being in a car with access to the keys is enough to be charged with DWI, even if the engine is turned off or you are asleep in the car. New Jersey’s DWI statute can also be used to charge the owner of a vehicle with DWI if they allow a drunk or high driver to drive their car. This means you do not need to be actually driving to be charged with DWI.
Drunk driving offenses have varying penalties depending on whether this is your first DWI or you have a history of DWI. In any case, there is always the potential of at least 30 days in jail, even for a first time DWI. These increase to mandatory jail time for second and third DWIs. There are also fines, ranging from $250 to $1,000, decided based on whether there are repeat offenses. You can also lose your license for 3 months for a low-level first offense, 7 months to 1 year for a high-level or drug-based first offense, 2 years for a second offense, and 10 years for a third offense.
Refusing a breathalyzer test also carries criminal penalties and license suspensions.
Our Attorneys Can Help with Drunk and Drugged Driving Charges in Wildwood
If you or a loved one was arrested for drunk driving or drugged driving at the Jersey Shore, contact our law offices today. The Wildwood drunk driving defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych offer free consultations on DWI cases and work to get charges dropped and penalties reduced. To schedule your free legal consultation, contact our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.