Monmouth County DWI Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, you need to know how to protect your future and beat the charges against you. Find out by speaking with a Monmouth County DWI defense attorney.
While New Jersey is unlike many states in that it treats driving while intoxicated (DWI) as a motor vehicle offense rather than a criminal offense, it’s still important to do everything you can to avoid a conviction.
The legal penalties for drunk driving become increasingly harsh with each conviction—and you never know when the next one will be one that can’t be beaten. Additionally, a conviction for DWI can lead to a number of problems in your personal life, from damage to your reputation to issues with your auto insurance.
In short, a DWI charge puts a lot at stake, and you’ve got too much at risk to not fight the charge. A Monmouth County DWI lawyer from Clark & Clark, LLC can help you challenge your DWI charge and provide you with the defense you need.
When Can Someone Be Arrested for Drunk Driving in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, anyone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher is considered too drunk to operate a motor vehicle. Commercial drivers have a lower allowed BAC (.04 percent), as do drivers under the age of twenty-one (.02 percent).
For an especially high BAC of .15 percent or more, additional penalties will likely be imposed.
It’s important to note that New Jersey is an implied consent state. This means that you do not have the option to refuse a sobriety, breath, or chemical test when an officer orders it. By getting behind the wheel and driving, you are providing consent in advance.
Refusing a sobriety test is actually an offense in its own right and will not prevent you from being arrested for DWI. It will simply result in further charges and penalties.
New Jersey Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated
While DWI isn’t considered a criminal offense in New Jersey, it is considered a “quasi-criminal offense.” This puts it somewhere between a normal traffic violation and a true criminal charge in terms of severity, and the legal penalties reflect this.
As a motor vehicle offense, your DWI case will be heard by a judge rather than tried in front of a jury. This might sound like a good thing, but a judge can be even more difficult to convince of your innocence than a jury, making it essential to work with a Monmouth County DWI lawyer.
Penalties for driving while intoxicated vary according to previous offenses, BAC level, and other factors, but these are the general guidelines for what to expect upon conviction:
- First DWI – Jail sentence of up to thirty days, fine of between $250 and $500, license suspension of between three months and one year
- Second DWI – Jail sentence of up to ninety days, fine of between $500 and $1,000, license suspension of two years
- Third DWI – Jail sentence of up to 180 days, fine of $1,000, license suspension of ten years
In some cases, the judge might also order that an ignition interlock device (IID) be installed in your car or truck. In order to start your vehicle, you’ll first have to blow into the IID, which will prevent the vehicle from starting when a certain amount of alcohol is detected.
While each DWI offense has a listed fine, there are additional fees that you’ll also have to pay, including surcharges and anything related to attending courses at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). These additional fees can easily total more than $500.
DWI Penalties Beyond Legal Punishment
While New Jersey’s penalties for drunk driving are harsh enough, you unfortunately don’t stop paying the price of a DWI conviction there. Notably, you can expect your car insurance premiums to increase dramatically. If you are a repeat offender, you might discover that your only options are incredibly expensive high-risk policies.
Beyond that, a DWI can hurt your career, possibly costing you your job. This is especially likely if you are a commercial driver or if you were arrested while driving for work.
Finally, the drivers license suspension associated with a DWI conviction can be for an extremely long period of time. This can greatly limit your personal mobility, incurring additional costs when you need to take public transportation.
The negative repercussions that follow a drunk driving conviction are pervasive and extreme. By developing your defense with the help of a Monmouth County DWI lawyer, you stand the best chance at beating your charge and avoiding these negative consequences.
Defending Against a DWI Charge
Many people make the mistake of assuming that a driving while intoxicated charge can’t be beaten and simply plead guilty. This is a huge mistake, and pleading guilty isn’t going to help you when it comes to avoiding all the penalties and repercussions already described.
The truth is that there are many ways to challenge a DWI in court. The exact form that your defense needs to take will depend on the circumstances of your arrest, the officer’s reasons for pulling you over, and what test the officer used to gauge your sobriety:
- The breathalyzer used might have been miscalibrated, or its reading might have been interfered with by fumes present on your clothing or in the environment.
- Uneven ground might have upset your balance during a field sobriety test.
- The officer may not have had probable cause for pulling you over, possibly backed up by dashcam footage.
- You have a physical or speech impairment that led the officer to conclude that you were intoxicated instead.
Monmouth County DWI FAQ
A drunk driving arrest is an upsetting and stressful event for anyone. You’re going to have concerns and questions, and we’re here to provide answers. In the section below, we’ve addressed a few of the more common concerns we hear, and we’ll be happy to provide any additional information you might need.
Will I have to do community service for a DWI?
If you’re convicted or admit guilt, then community service might be included as part of your punishment. It will be up to the judge hearing your case to decide.
If I had an open container when I was arrested for DWI, will it increase my potential penalties?
Yes. Open container penalties increase with the number of previous infractions. Generally speaking, you can expect additional fines and possibly even community service when an open container was present during a DWI arrest.
What determines if I’m required to have an ignition interlock device installed?
An IID is most often required when your BAC tested at .15 percent or higher. You’ll be required to maintain the device during the entirety of your license suspension, as well as for a specified amount of time after your license has been restored.
Connect with a Monmouth County DWI Defense Attorney
No DWI charge is 100 percent guaranteed to end in a conviction. Clark & Clark, LLC never gives up on a case, no matter how strong the case against you might appear. If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, we can help.
Arrange a time to speak with an experienced Monmouth County DWI lawyer during a free, confidential consultation and discover how we can help. Just complete the form below or call us directly at 732-303-7857.