Did you know that there is one traffic fatality every 48 minutes in the U.S. where alcohol is a contributing factor? Federal and state lawmakers, law enforcement, and local prosecutors have continued their efforts to reverse this trend. Drivers that are arrested for DWI can now expect to face significant penalties including a license suspension, fines, jail time, and a host of collateral consequences.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) (39:4-50)
It is unlawful for a motorist to operate a vehicle while under the influence of “intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug.” For operating under the influence of alcohol, the legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%. This is measured using a breath or blood test.
It is also unlawful for a driver to be under the influence of drugs while operating. This applies to any chemical or substance that may create “intoxication, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction or dulling of the brain or nervous system.” There are many such substances include marijuana or inhalants including nitrous oxide or other substances such as petroleum ether, benzene, and more.
Recent Legislative Changes
New Jersey recently became the 34th state to require all DWI offenders to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their vehicle. This is a device that requires a driver to submit a breath sample to detect alcohol before operating a vehicle. Lawmakers acknowledged that far too many drivers that have a suspended driver's license continue to drive.
First Time DWI Offender Penalties
- If the BAC is .08 to .10% will have their driver's license suspended for 30 days and a maximum of $400 fine imposed. The driver must have an IID installed in their vehicle for up to six months. All first-time offenders must attend an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center program for 12 to 48 hours.
- If the BAC ranges from .10 to .15% or involves operating under the influence of drugs, they will have their driver's license suspended for 45 days and be fined up to $500. The driver must have an IID installed on their vehicle for up to one year.
- Offenders with a BAC exceeding .15% with have a 90-day driver's license suspension and a fine of up to $500. The driver must have an IID installed for up to 18 months.
Driver Consent to Chemical Testing (39:4-50.2)
Drivers in New Jersey are required to comply with any request from a law enforcement officer to submit to chemical testing. This applies when there is reasonable cause to believe the driver is impaired.
Refusal to Submit to Testing (39:4-50.4a)
Drivers that refuse to submit to a chemical test will likely face an administrative license suspension that specifically for the refusal. Penalties for refusal may be imposed independently of the DWI charges.
How an Experienced New Jersey DWI Attorney Can Assist
Your defense lawyer may employ a variety of strategies in managing your case. He or she may closely review the details of the traffic stop and the process of the arrest. Evidence including any field sobriety testing, breath, blood or urine samples may be scrutinized. While challenging evidence and procedural compliance, your attorney may consider potential resolutions that may create a positive outcome.
Legal Representation for Those in Cumberland County
Joseph D. Lento is a seasoned defense attorney that is well-versed in defending allegations of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He understands what is at stake in these cases and works relentlessly to deliver results. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.