There are more DWI arrests in Monmouth County than any other in New Jersey. There are more than 2,700 drivers arrested here annually. Across the county, the average number of drivers charged with operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol has slightly decreased. Some experts think that rail-hailing services such as Uber have contributed to the trend.
Driving While Intoxicated DWI (39:4-50)
Drivers are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while they are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Specifically, this applies to the operation of a motor vehicle while "under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug." The legal limit for alcohol consumption is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%.
The terms “narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug” includes various substances. Examples are those that are inhaled containing “toxic vapors or fumes” that may cause intoxication. It also applies to any chemicals that may result in “inebriation, excitement, stupefaction or dulling of the brain or nervous system.” Other substances include marijuana, pentachlorophenol, nitrous oxide, and dozens more.
New Jersey's 2019 Legislative Changes (39:4-50.16a)
New laws took effect in December 2019. Reports show that many DWI offenders continue to drive despite having a suspended license. Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are now employed that require drivers to submit a breath sample that detects alcohol before a vehicle will start.
These devices have shown to be in the best interest of public safety. Offenders pay for the costs associated with the IID. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD), and other major safety advocates now are in support of these measures.
DWI Penalties: First-Time Offenders
All first-time offenders are required to complete an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program or similar alcohol education and safety class and must have an IID installed on their vehicle. Penalties increase according to the driver's BAC at the time of the arrest.
- BAC between .08 and .10%: A maximum fine of $400 and are subject to IID requirements
- BAC between .10 and .15%: A maximum fine of $500 and IID installation for up to one year
- BAC of .15% or more: A maximum fine of $500 and IID installation may be required for up to 21 months
Drivers that have yet to reach the legal age for alcohol consumption are subject to a BAC limit of .01%. Commercial motor vehicle operators are subject to a BAC limit of .04%.
License Revocation for Test Refusal (39:4-50.4a)
Motor vehicle operators in New Jersey have entered an agreement that requires they submit to chemical testing when requested by a member of law enforcement that has “reasonable grounds” for suspicion. Drivers may not be forcefully made to submit. The refusal itself results in penalties including revocation of driving privileges.
Multiple DWI Offenses
The “lookback” period for a prior DWI offense is 10 years. The severity of penalties imposed on repeat offenders escalates quickly. Second-time offenders face increased fines, a license suspension of up to 24 months, and may be required to have an IID installed for up to 72 months. There is also a requirement to complete an IDRC or similar program and 30 days of community service.
New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney
A DWI conviction can lead to a loss of driving privileges, jail time, large fines, and other related adverse consequences. These cases require aggressive representation for an attorney that is well-versed in this volatile area of practice. Contact the Lento Law Firm for a case evaluation at (888) 535-3686.