Driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions can potentially have significant and lifelong repercussions and are often accompanied by harsh fines and other penalties. In addition, lesser auto-related offenses may have surprisingly serious consequences in certain situations. If you or someone you love has been charged with a DWI or another type of traffic offense, a knowledgeable and experienced New Jersey defense lawyer may be able to help.
Criminal defense attorney Brian J. Neary has been representing criminal defendants in New Jersey courts for the past 35 years. He has the legal skills and experience to safeguard all of your rights while your case is pending and may be able to help you obtain a dismissal, charge reduction, or a reduced penalty upon conviction.
DWI Charges in New Jersey
The charge of driving while intoxicated applies when a person is alleged to have been operating a motor vehicle while their faculties were impaired by alcohol or drugs. Like every other state, the legal limit for alcohol-related intoxication in New Jersey is a 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This BAC can be tested by a breath test at the scene of the traffic stop or a blood test after you have been arrested. Even without demonstrating you were over the legal limit, however, prosecutors can use performance on field sobriety tests or other officer observations to show that your driving abilities were impaired.
DWI conviction can have many consequences, including:
- Fines and court costs
- Suspension of your driver’s license
- Mandatory alcohol education classes
- Having an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
- Jail time
- Escalating consequences for multiple offenses
New Jersey Underage DWI Law
When it comes to underage DWIs, New Jersey laws are not on the side of the arrestee or defendant. Under New Jersey law, it is illegal for a person who is under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in that person’s system—or, more technically, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01% or higher.
If a minor is found to have a BAC of between .01% and .079%, the minor may be subject to the following penalties:
- Driver’s license suspension of 30-90 days
- A 30-90 day delay in processing a driver’s license, if the driver is unlicensed and under the age of 17
- 15-30 days of required community service
- Required participation in an alcohol and/or highway safety education program
- High fines
If the minor is found to have a BAC of .08% or higher, these penalties may increase significantly.
Marijuana DWI Charges in New Jersey
Marijuana DWI charges in New Jersey are unfortunately all too common. Marijuana DWI cases can be complicated because, unlike an alcohol-related DWI case, there is currently no breath test that police can use to determine the level of intoxication of a driver. While blood or urine tests may indicate that marijuana was in your system, that may be due to past due of the drug and does not necessarily prove that you were under the influence at the time of the arrest. For this reason, these cases can be complicated, and having the right attorney on your side is essential.
Other Auto-related Offenses in NJ
While a DWI is often considered to be the most serious auto-related offense, it is wrong to underestimate the severity of other traffic offenses. In some cases, auto-related convictions can have harsh consequences, including the loss of your driver’s license for an extended period of time and the payment of costly fees. Some examples of such auto-related offenses include:
- Reckless driving
- Speeding more than 30 miles over the speed limit
- Passing a school bus
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
- Driving without insurance
All of these offenses come with a certain amount of points that will be added to your license. After accruing six or more points in less than three years, you will have to pay a surcharge to keep your driver’s license. For reference, some of the offenses listed above account for five points each. Accruing 12 points means your license will be suspended; however, even a couple of points can result in the increase of your insurance rates or the cancellation of your policy. An experienced traffic defense lawyer can help to negotiate a plea deal to a lesser offense to avoid the accrual of any points on your license whenever possible. On the other hand, if you pay the fine without an attorney, you are pleading guilty and accepting the points and the accompanying consequences.
In addition, too many people who receive auto-related citations fail to show up at court—either because they forgot or because they do not want to face the consequences. In either situation, this is a huge mistake, as the court will likely issue a warrant for your arrest and charge you with failure to appear. By calling an attorney, you can make sure your case is handled on your behalf in the most favorable manner possible.
Contact a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
DWI charges are taken very seriously in the State of New Jersey and a conviction can result in a potential prison sentence, harsh fine, or lengthy period of probation. If you have been charged with a New Jersey DWI, you need experienced legal representation on your side every step of the way. A good DWI defense lawyer will also be able to help you formulate good legal defenses to your charges and may be able to assist you with obtaining a dismissal or a charge reduction.
In addition, traffic offenses should never be taken lightly as they can result in a suspension of your license or extensive fines before you know it. It is always preferable to have an experienced defense attorney handle your ticket as soon as possible to prevent any unnecessarily harsh consequences.
Criminal defense lawyer Brian J. Neary and his experienced legal team provide zealous defense representation for every client—no matter the charge. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, please call us today or contact us online.