Charges of DWI in New Jersey and New York City are one of the most serious you can face as a driver. In New Jersey, these charges include both driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI). New Jersey has some of the strictest laws in the nation; these include being prohibited from plea bargaining down to a reduced charge. Even a first offense for which you are convicted can lead to hefty fines, jail time, a license suspension, and increased insurance premiums.
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The Boston Bomber’s sister was charged with possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. After careful negotiations, Mario Blanch was able to get the charges against the client dismissed.
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Mario Blanch was able to successfully argue that a bank breached its verbal agreement with a family and was able to save their home from foreclosure.
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Under these circumstances, it is critical that you retain the services of a criminal defender who knows how to combat DWI charges. These charges are highly technical, combining the science and procedures behind chemical testing as well as police procedure. An experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer will know what questions to ask, what issues to investigate, and how to throw the prosecution’s case against you into doubt. At Blanch Legal Firm, you can work with a legal team that has been working DWI cases for years, who are seasoned trial lawyers, and who are dedicated to getting results.
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits in New Jersey
You are over the legal limit in New Jersey if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures .08 percent or higher. This automatically qualifies you for a DWI charge even if your car was not in motion but you were in physical control of it. As a vehicle owner, you can also be charged if you allow a person who is intoxicated to operate your car. You can also be charged if you were “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs even if your BAC was not over the legal limit. Under the influence consists of being in operation of your car with substantially deteriorated mental or physical faculties.
What are the Penalties for DWI in New Jersey?
Your DWI charges and penalties will depend on whether it is a first, second, or subsequent offense within the previous 10 years. Other factors that can determine penalties is if your BAC measures .10 percent or higher, whether you were under the influence of drugs, whether you were driving with a minor under the age of 17, or driving within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
Aside from jail and fines, anyone convicted of DWI in the state will be required to participate in screening, evaluation, and treatment recommendations for drugs or alcohol. This can lead to six hours of treatment a day in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program which adds an additional expense to your penalties. However, any days served in the program can be credited towards your jail sentence as can community service days if they are part of your court program. You may also be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in your car for a period of six months up to a year.
A first offense is punishable by the following:
- Fines ranging from $250 up to $500 depending on your BAC
- 12 to 48 hours in an IDRC program
- Up to 30 days in jail
- A 90-day license suspension
License suspensions can increase up a year for those with a BAC at .10 percent or higher. Penalties will increase with each subsequent conviction. For example, a second conviction will result in a license suspension of two years and fines ranging up to $1,000 while a third conviction will result in a 10-year license loss and a fine of $1,000.
Field Sobriety Tests
The following tests make up The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST):
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test - Here the officer will move a small object back and forth while observing the person's eyes.
- Walk-and-turn test - In this test, the officer instructs the person to walk about nine steps in a straight line and turn around and come back.
- One-leg stand test - The officer will instruct the person to hold one foot in the air and keep it there until told to put it down.
The purpose of these tests is to help the officer determine if the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While administering the tests, the officer is looking for indicators that the person is intoxicated such as not being able to keep their balance/using their arms to balance and/or not following the instructions properly.
What is New Jersey’s Implied Consent Law?
In the state of New Jersey as well as other states throughout the U.S., as a condition of applying for a driver's license, driver's have given their "implied consent" to performing a chemical or breath test if they are pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol.
A first offense for refusing a lawfully requested chemical test after a DWI will result in license suspension between seven and 12 months and a maximum fine of $500. A second-time refusal can lead to license suspension for up to two years and a fine of up to $1,000. Lastly, a third or subsequent refusal carries a 10-year license suspension and a fine not exceeding $1,000.
Work with an Aggressive Defender
Being convicted of drunk or drug-impaired driving can derail your life, your career, your reputation, and your future. Despite what law enforcement or others may tell you, defenses do exist against such charges and they can be made after careful analysis of all of the technical and other facts of your case. Our firm is here to protect your rights, ensure that you have a fair day in court, and to put 100 percent effort into helping you obtain a favorable outcome.
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