If you have been arrested for DUI/DWI in the State of New Jersey, you should immediately contact a defense attorney who focuses in this area of law. New Jersey has strict laws and penalties regarding operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (even if they are Lawfully Prescribed Medications). There are no “hardship” licenses in New Jersey even for the limited purpose of driving to and from work. This is a complex area of law, which is why you need to find an attorney who has extensive experience representing clients charged with DWI.
New Jersey DWI law is governed by N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Under that statute, a person can be convicted of DWI in two ways in New Jersey. The first is by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. In such a case, the State must prove that you consumed alcohol to the point where your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle was impaired. To prove this, the State will usually rely on your performance on the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). The second way an individual can be convicted of DW is by operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) that exceeds the State limit of 0.08%. The State must introduce Alcotest Results or Blood Test Results that exceed the 0.08% limit.
New Jersey DUI law is also governed by N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. You can be convicted of Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of Drugs based upon a combination of the Police Officer’s testimony as to your driving, his or her observations of you, the results of blood or urine testing, and the examination of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).
Further, if you refuse to take a chemical breath test (Alcotest) when legally required to do so by law enforcement, you will be charged with Refusal under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4 and/or 39:4-50.2. This is because when you receive your driver’s license in New Jersey, you give your Implied Consent to submit to chemical tests. In addition to being charged with refusing to submit, you may still be charged with driving under the influence and it is possible to be convicted of both offenses and receive double penalties.
During your first telephone call or in-office consultation with Randolph Wolf or Amanda Wolf, we will listen carefully to you in order to determine the facts of your case. We will then explain to you how the laws of New Jersey apply to your situation. Upon hiring our firm we will write to the Municipal Prosecutor and obtain the complete police department file on your case. We will examine the Constitutional validity of the motor vehicle stop and determine if it can be challenged. If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and there is an Alcotest we will obtain the technical documentation of your actual test, the calibration certifications and repair records of the machine, the computer data downloads from the cloud maintained by the New Jersey State Police, and if necessary have them reviewed by an Expert who is a former Lieutenant in charge of the New Jersey State Police Alcohol and Drug Testing Unit, or a former New Jersey State Police Breath Test Coordinator. We will challenge where appropriate the validity of the tests and the readings.
If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence of a Drug or Under the Influence of Alcohol as a result of a blood or urine test, we will obtain all documentation concerning the Consent or Warrant for the blood draw, review the chain of custody of the blood or urine sample from the police department to the laboratory, and the laboratory test results. We will utilize all available defenses to challenge the admissibility of the sample. If you were examined by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) we will obtain the report and have its results reviewed and if appropriate challenged by an Expert who is Certified as a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor.
Randolph Wolf and Amanda Wolf will aggressively pursue every approach to defend you against these charges and to have you found Not Guilty or to minimize the penalties. Click here to see the DUI defenses they have successfully utilized.
DWI and Refusal Penalties
Penalties differ depending on whether the charge is a First Offense, a Second Offense, a Third Offense, or Refusing to Submit to a Breath Test as well as the level of BAC the individual is charged with having at the time of the arrest. Penalties also vary for Underage DWI/DUI, and there are enhanced penalties for those drivers that possess a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).
How Our Firm Can Help
The attorneys at Wolf Law have been representing people charged with these offenses for over 36 years and have handled literally thousands of cases. We not only know the law, but also how the system works, and we can use that knowledge and experience to help protect your rights and fight for you to achieve the best possible outcome.
We can help you by looking for flaws and mistakes in the state’s case against you. This includes looking at the reasons the police pulled you over in the first place. In order for a traffic stop to be valid, the police must be able to show that you broke a traffic law or that they had a probable cause to believe that you had committed a crime. We can help determine if the traffic stop was valid or whether it was Unconstitutional. If the stop was not valid, all evidence against you would be inadmissible at trial.
Additionally, we will look for any errors that the police made while conducting tests to determine if you were impaired. These tests can include field sobriety tests, Alcotests, and blood or urine sample laboratory results. At your request, we will have an expert who is a former New Jersey State Police Breath Test Coordinator review the testing in your case to verify that the testing was performed properly and according to the state’s guidelines and that the testing equipment used was properly calibrated to prevent inaccurate and false readings. We will also review other circumstances regarding your arrest, such as potential challenges to any admissions you made by making sure you have been read your Miranda rights and that police respected those rights.
If you are charged with Refusal to Provide a Breath Sample we will review with you possible defenses including lack of probable cause for either the stop or to place you under arrest for DWI, and whether you were read and understood the Division of Motor Vehicles Standard Statement (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2(e) (click here to read statement) and whether English is your primary language. If you attempted to give a breath sample but the machine did not accept it, we will examine the operation of the Alcotest through the Alcohol Influence Report (AIR) that it generates and through the Computer Data Downloads uploaded to the State Police Computer to see if the Refusal was in fact caused by a machine malfunction.
Our law firm will aggressively pursue every approach to defend you against the DUI/DWI and/or Refusal. We will seek to have you found Not Guilty or to minimize the penalties you receive and will fight to obtain the best possible result.
DWI Penalties for First Offense
Under New Jersey law, the penalties for a first-offense conviction depend on blood alcohol content. If your BAC is between 0.08% but less than 0.10%, a conviction results in a mandatory license revocation until an ignition interlock is installed. Once the ignition interlock is installed, your driving privileges are restored and it must remain for three (3) months. In addition, a conviction results in a fine between $250.00 and $400.00, 12-48 hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) and up to 30 days imprisonment. If your BAC is 0.10% or above but less than .15%, penalties for a first-offense conviction include a mandatory license revocation until an ignition interlock is installed and then a seven (7) to twelve (12) month installation period, a fine between $300.00 and $500.00, 12-48 hours at an IDRC, and up to 30 days imprisonment. If your BAC is over a .15%, penalties for a first-offense conviction include a four (4) to six (6) month revocation of your driving privileges, a fine of $300.00 to $500.00, 12-48 hours IDRC, and the installation of an ignition interlock for a period of nine (9) to fifteen (15) months after your driving privileges are restored.
If you are convicted of a DUI for driving under the influence of drugs, the penalties for a first-offense conviction include a seven (7) to twelve (12) month loss of your driving privileges, a fine between $300.00 and $500.00, 12-48 hours in an IDRC, and up to 30 days imprisonment.
DWI Penalties for Second Offense
For a second-offense DWI conviction, penalties include a mandatory one to two year license suspension, a fine between $500.00 and $1,000.00, 30 days community service, 12-48 hours at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center (IDRC), and 48 hours to 90 days imprisonment. Additionally, for a second-offense conviction, the court will impose installation of an Ignition Interlock Device during the term of suspension and for two (2) to four (4) years after driving privileges have been restored.
DWI Penalties for Third Offense
Penalties for a third-offense conviction in New Jersey include a eight (8) year license suspension, a $1,000.00 fine, 180 days mandatory imprisonment, 90 days of which can be served in an approved inpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. Additionally, for a third-offense conviction, the court will impose installation of an Ignition Interlock Device during the term of suspension and for two (2) to four (4) years after driving privileges have been restored.
Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample Penalties
A charge for refusing to submit to an Alcotest has serious penalties. For a first offense, penalties include a suspension of your driving privileges until an ignition interlock is installed, nine (9) to fifteen (15) months with the ignition interlock, and a $300.00 to $500.00 fine. For a second offense, penalties include a one to two-year license suspension, a $500.00 to $1,000.00 fine, and the installation of an ignition interlock for the period of suspension and for between two and four years following the restoration of driving privileges. For a third offense, penalties include an eight-year license suspension, a $1,000.00 fine, and the installation of an ignition interlock for the period of suspension and for between two and four years following the restoration of driving privileges. These penalties are in addition to any penalties you may receive from a DUI or DWI conviction and can run consecutive to those DWI penalties.
If you are convicted of a DWI and do not own, lease, or operate a motor vehicle, you must attest to this in Court. You will then have your driver’s license suspended for the period that the ignition interlock would be required. For example, if there was a first offense with a reading between a .08% and .10% BAC, then instead of ninety days with the ignition interlock device, you would instead have your driving privileges suspended for ninety days.