New Jersey DWI Attorney Serving Bergen County
Bergen County DWI Defense Attorney
The penalties for driving while intoxicated are much more serious than for most moving offenses. This is because of the severity of the possible consequences of driving while intoxicated, and the recklessness of getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you have been charged with DWI, contact a defense attorney immediately to help you protect your rights. Our experienced New Jersey DWI attorneys can help with Bergen County and surrounding area drunk driving charges.
Driving While Intoxicated
New Jersey law prohibits driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in the state is 0.08 percent. This means that if your BAC is 0.08 percent or over, you may not operate a motor vehicle. For minors under the age of 21, the legal limit is much lower: 0.01 percent.
The presence of illegal drugs in the system can also result in a DWI charge. Even the use of some legal drugs is not permitted while driving. In New Jersey, it is illegal to drive if you are under the influence of drugs that substantially impair your ability to drive. This includes the impairment of either mental abilities or physical coordination.
Breath testing is a common way for a police officer to determine if a driver is over the legal limit. The refusal to submit to a breath test is a separate offense. Drivers who refuse testing face a minimum license suspension of seven months, plus fines and mandatory participation in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program
Penalties for DWI
Although Driving While Intoxicated in New Jersey is not a criminal offense, it carries severe penalties. The consequences of DWI include fines and surcharges, the loss of driving privileges, community service, ignition interlock devices, jail time, and insurance increases.
If you are arrested for DWI and your BAC is between 0.08 to but under a 0.10 percent, penalties may include for a first offense:
- License suspension of three months;
- Fine of $250 to $400;
- $505 in various fees;
- $1,000 per year surcharge, for three years;
- Jail time of up to 30 days; and
- 12 to 48 hours of intoxicated driver instruction at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center(IDRC)
If your BAC is greater than 0.10 percent when you are arrested, your license will be suspended for seven to twelve months. If your BAC was 0.15 percent or greater, an ignition interlock device will be installed on your car during the suspension of your license, and for six months to a year after you get it back. The ignition interlock device prevents your car from starting unless you blow into the device, and it registers your BAC as being below 0.05 percent.
For a second offense within ten years of the first, your license will be suspended for two years and you will be required to perform 30 days of community service and be subject to up to ninety days in jail. You will have to serve a mandatory two day minimum jail term which can be served at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. You also must install an interlock device on any vehicle you own for three years. There is also a $ 500-1000 fine and additional surcharges.
For a third offense within ten years of the first and second offenses, your license will be suspended for ten years and you will be sentenced to 180 days in jail, 90 of which can be served in an IDRC approved inpatient rehabilitation facility. You also must install an interlock device on any car you own for thirteen years. There is also a $1000.00 surcharge and additional surcharges.
There is also a $ 3000.00 civil surcharge (payable over three years) imposed on a person convicted of DWI.
Unlike many other states, New Jersey does not have a restricted license program. This means that there are no exceptions to the license suspension for work, education, or other reasons.
Yes, while DWI in New Jersey is not a criminal offense, it carries severe penalties. There are various defenses to the charge ranging from whether the police lawfully stopped the motorist, to whether the Alco-Test ( breathalyzer) was properly functioning and whether the breath test was properly administered by the police. For those with prior DWI convictions, whether in New Jersey or elsewhere, it is important to determine whether the prior conviction can be used to make the current charge a second, third or subsequent offense because this effects the potential sentence in the case.
DWI in New Jersey is very complicated and no Website can fully answer all questions about DWI you may have. Please contact New Jersey DWI attorney Phillip Murphy with any questions you may have.
If you are under age 21 and are convicted of DWI, penalties include:
- License suspension for 30 to 90 days;
- Fines and fees;
- 15 to 30 days community service; and
- Alcohol education and highway safety courses.
If you are unlicensed and under age 17, the receipt of your license will be delayed for 30 to 90 days.
If you have been arrested for or charged with DWI in New Jersey, it is essential to retain legal help as soon as possible. Please contact Bergen County DWI attorney Phillip Murphy to schedule your free initial consultation.