New Jersey Drunk Driving Laws are Among the Toughest Drunk Driving Laws in the Country

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First Offense

          For starters, 1st offenders are facing up to 30 days in jail.  However, that is very unlikely unless there are extreme circumstances. There are certain mandatory penalties for a 1st offence DWI.  If your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is a .08 but less than a .10 you face a 3-month loss of your drivers license. If your BAC is a .10 or higher, you face a 7 to 12 month loss of your drivers license. Violators are also subject to an evaluation at the Intoxicated Drivers Recourse Center (IDRC).

 

Fines and assessments; Assessments: $230 IDRC,

                                                               $100 Drunk Driving Fund

                                                               $100 AERF

                                                               $75 Neighborhood Services Fund

                                                               $1,000 year for 3 years: Motor Vehicle Commission Surcharge

                                        Fines: between $250 - $400. 

Fines are doubled if the violation occurs in a school zone.

          Lastly, if your BAC is a .15 or higher, the court will order you to install an ignition interlock device.  You will have to pay a monthly service fee for the interlock device and it requires periodic “clean” breath samples to operate the vehicle.

Second Offense

          Again there is the possibility of jail time. Second offenders face between 2 and 90 days in jail.  Generally, the Court will order 2 days of attendance in the IDRC program in lieu of the 2-day jail sentence.  Often there is no other jail sentence.

 

          Second offenders are subject to a mandatory 2-year loss of their drivers license. The loss could be 4 years if the offense occurred in a school zone. There is also a mandatory requirement that you have an ignition interlock device installed and you will be required to serve 30 days of community service.

 

Fines and assessments; Fines: between $500 - $1,000

                                       Assessments: $280 IDRC

                                                              $100 Drunk Driving Fund

                                                              $100 AERF

                                                              $75 Neighborhood Services Fund

                                                              $1,000 year for 3 years: Motor Vehicle Commission Surcharge

Third Offense

          For 3rd offenders there is a mandatory 180-day jail sentence. The court will allow you to serve 90 of those days in an in-patient treatment facility, provided you serve the 90-day jail sentence first. There will be a mandatory 10 year loss of your drivers license, up to 90 days of community service, 12 to 48 hours of IDRC and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

 

Fines and assessments; Fines: $1,000. 

                                       Assessments: $280 IDRC

                                                              $100 Drunk Driving Fund

                                                              $100 AERF

                                                              $75 Neighborhood Services Fund

                                                              $1,500 year for 3 years: Motor Vehicle Commission Surcharge

DWI Defenses

          As you can see the penalties for a DWI offense in New Jersey are severe, even intimidating. I’m sure they were designed to be exactly that.  However, as a former Municipal Prosecutor I have witnessed first hand, that a skilled DWI attorney can have a reasonable degree of success defending DWI charges.

 

          During my training as a Municipal Prosecutor I received 2 separate training sessions in the prosecution of DWI cases.  The training was administered jointly by; the New Jersey Attorney Generals Office, The New Jersey State Police and The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.  The two separate trainings were on the prosecution of DWI Alcotest cases (cases with breath test readings) and the prosecution of DWI drug cases (cases involving the use of a DRE-Drug Recognition Expert observations). The DRE cases may also involve the taking of urine or blood samples to determine what substance caused the impaired condition.

 

          Let me remind you that I was a Municipal Prosecutor in 23 towns. As such, I was in court virtually all-day-every-day for over 3 years. I estimate that I prosecuted over 5,000 DWI cases.  That’s more DWI’s than most attorneys defend in 20, 30 or even 40 years of practice. I learned the intricacies of DWI law inside-and-out going up against some of the States top DWI attorneys. Attorneys who have argued DWI law before the New Jersey Supreme Court. We worked out most cases, often after lengthy legal discussions, and had trials on some of the others. I can honestly say that I won a lot more trials than I lost, including trials against some of the State's top DWI defense attorneys. I put this out here, not to brag, but to give you an idea about the depth and breath of my experiences with DWI cases. When you or a loved one is facing a DWI it’s important to have an experienced attorney.

 

          I offer FREE consultations to potential clients. Please keep in mind that in DWI cases, as with most other cases, your particular results will be fact sensitive.  That means a skilled attorney will have to examine the totality of the evidence against you to assess your chances of a favorable outcome.  Remember that the State has to prove that you are guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. You do not have to prove your innocence. As a former Municipal Prosecutor I can tell you that the State must prove many, many steps along the way to get to a finding of guilty.  Call me today for your FREE consultation and put my experience to work for you.

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