Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Driving Under the Influence / Driving While Intoxicated Charges
Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be overwhelming and scary. At The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen, I understand the emotions you are feeling as you face drunk driving charges. Below are some questions and answers that are frequently asked about these types of cases. To learn more about how I can defend you and protect your rights, call my office at 856-830-6433or contact me online.
What are the penalties associated with a first DWI conviction in New Jersey?
First-time offenders who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .08% and .10% can expect to pay a fine of between $250 and $400. Convicted first-time offenders in New Jersey will also be detained for up to 48 hours in a manner set forth by the program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). The court also has the discretion to sentence first-time offenders to imprisonment of up to 30 days and license suspension for up to a year, as well as the installation of an ignition interlock device. If the DWI offense occurred near a school, there may be additional penalties under New Jersey law.
First-time offenders who have a BAC over .10% and drivers operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs face stricter penalties, including fines of between $300 and $500, detention time, and loss of driving privileges in New Jersey for a period of between seven months and one year, as well as potential jail time of up to 30 days.
What are the penalties associated with a second DUI conviction in New Jersey?
Individuals convicted of a second DUI/DWI offense in New Jersey face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000. Second-time offenders will also be required to complete 30 days of mandatory community service and face mandatory jail time (ranging from 48 hours to 90 days). Drivers convicted a second time lose their driving privileges for two years and must install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.
What are the penalties associated with a third or subsequent DWI conviction?
Drivers convicted of a drunk driving offense three or more times in New Jersey will face a fine of $1,000 and mandatory imprisonment for at least six months. Repeat offenders will lose their driving privileges for 10 years and will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Many times, the sentence can be served at an approved inpatient treatment center rather than jail.
What does it take for a prosecutor to succeed in obtaining a DUI conviction?
To convict a driver of drunk driving, New Jersey prosecutors must present proof of intoxication through the use of a machine registering BAC, as well as field sobriety test results or confessions.
Is it possible to appeal a DUI conviction in New Jersey?
Yes. Motions for post-conviction relief apply to DUI charges, as well as to other charges in New Jersey municipal and superior courts.
Can I get my DWI expunged?
In the state of New Jersey, drunk driving, as serious a charge as it is, is not considered a criminal offense. It is a traffic offense that is handled by local New Jersey traffic and municipal courts where you were arrested and charged. Only certain criminal convictions can be expunged in New Jersey. Therefore, you won’t be able to clear your record of a DWI conviction.
Can the police force me to take breath, urine or blood tests in an effort to gather evidence on me?
New Jersey has enacted an implied consent law that requires drivers suspected of driving under the influence to take breath tests to determine BAC or face significant penalties.
The law is different if you had your urine tested or blood drawn. It is not mandatory in New Jersey to submit willingly to a urine or blood analysis.
Can the police impound my car if I’m charged with DUI/DWI in New Jersey?
Yes. New Jersey has enacted “John’s law,” which permits law enforcement officers to impound the car of a drunk driver. Individuals who drive under the influence or drive while intoxicated also may face related charges such as driving or riding with an open container, driving with a DUI suspension and driving while possessing drugs.
Are there special DUI laws in New Jersey that apply to juveniles and young adults under the age of 21?
Yes. Drivers under the age of 21 will face prosecution in New Jersey if they are driving with a BAC of .01%. The penalties for drivers under 21, even with a BAC as low as .01%, can include a 30-90 day license suspension and 15-30 days of community service.
What are some defense strategies my lawyer may employ on my behalf?
It’s possible to prove the breathalyzer test was not operating properly. The officer who gave you the breath test may not have been qualified to do so. Your traffic stop may have violated your constitutional rights. These are just some of the defense strategies I can use on your behalf.
With over 30 years of experience, I have successfully challenged the reliability and validity of these tests, including the proper operation of breathalyzer machines, the qualifications of the machine operators and the experience of the police.