A DWI charge is a major violation under New Jersey law. Driving while intoxicated can put you, your passengers, other drivers out on the road, and pedestrians in immediate danger. Adults 21 and older can be charged with a DWI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or greater. If the driver is under 21, they are underage, and no amount of alcohol in their system is legal.
The penalties for a DWI charge depend on the BAC level, as well as whether it’s a first offense or a subsequent offense. Getting a DWI charge can seem scary. From jail time to a license suspension, a DWI charge can have a significant impact on a driver’s life. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DWI, it’s essential that you find an experienced New Jersey attorney to help you navigate your charges and create a defense. Often an attorney can help get charges downgraded or even dropped.
DWI Charges and Penalties
In the state of New Jersey, DWI penalties depend on how much alcohol was in the system and whether it was a first or subsequent offense. Here’s a quick guide to DWI consequences:
- First Offense (BAC between 0.08% and 0.10%) – Fines between $250-$400, a period of detainment between 12-48 hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, jail time up to 30 days, installation of an ignition interlock device in the driver’s vehicle for three months, various other surcharges and fines.
- First Offense (BAC greater than 0.10%) – Fines between $300-$500, a period of detainment between 12-48 hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, jail time up to 30 days, installation of an ignition interlock device for up to 18 months, various other surcharges and fines. If the BAC level is greater than .15%, the driver can also have their license suspended for 4-6 months.
- Second Offense – Fines between $500-$1,000, community service for 30 days, jail time between 48 hours and 90 days, license suspension for two years followed by the installation of an ignition interlock device.
- Third Offense – $1,000 fine, jail time of 180 days, eight-year license suspension followed by the installation of an ignition interlock device.
New Laws for Ignition Interlock Devices
As you can see, the consequences for a DWI charge are harsh. Even first-time offenders face steep penalties. At the end of 2019, New Jersey passed a new law stating that first-time DWI offenders would no longer have their licenses suspended. Instead, the driver would have an ignition interlock device installed in the car for a set amount of time. An ignition interlock device is a small piece of equipment that connects to the ignition of the vehicle. Before going somewhere, the driver must blow into the device. If the driver is under the influence, the car will not start. The device also makes drivers pull over at various points to breathe into the device to further ensure they haven’t ingested alcohol. This new law is life-changing to people who receive a DWI charge. A license suspension impacts many parts of their life. How will that person get to work? How will they drive to see family members? What will they do if there’s an emergency and they need to drive to the hospital? The ignition interlock device is a way to monitor DWI defendants without taking away their licenses.
A New Jersey Attorney Fighting DWI Charges in Court
With an experienced New Jersey attorney by your side, you can try to have DWI charges downgraded or even dropped. This allows drivers to avoid the DWI charge on their record or avoid some of the harsher consequences, like jail time. The first step your lawyer will take is to analyze the administration of the Alcotest. The test should happen when the person is pulled over. If it is given much later, the evidence may be invalid. Also, sometimes these tests can be inaccurate. There are ways the attorney can look for breath-test issues in order to create a defense. Attorneys also look at the field sobriety test. This is where officers check the driver’s balance to find signs of impairment. There are many reasons besides intoxication that a person could fail a field sobriety test. For example, maybe they have a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to stay balanced. Or maybe the land they were doing the test on was uneven or rocky. Your attorney will comb through the details of the case in order to create the best strategy to use in court. Provide your attorney with as many details as possible about the timeframe when you were pulled over.
How A New Jersey Attorney Can Help You Fight DWI Charges
Getting a DWI charge is scary. Drivers often assume the worst and fear license suspension and jail time. With an experienced attorney, it is possible to have the charges dropped or at least downgraded. Your attorney will work hard to create a defense that hopefully helps you avoid getting a DWI charge on your record, or at least avoid some of the harsher penalties. Leon Matchin is an experienced New Jersey attorney. He has helped many clients with DWI cases over the years. His extensive knowledge of New Jersey law, as well as his attention to detail, makes him the perfect attorney to represent you in court. If you have received a DWI charge, it’s essential to seek out the help of an attorney as soon as possible! Contact New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin right away by phone at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected].