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Attorney
Joseph A. Lombardo

New Jersey has some of the busiest and most crowded roadways in the country, and law enforcement takes driving under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating very seriously.  If you are charged with DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated, you could be subject to extremely harsh penalties. Depending on your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), any prior DWI offenses, or if you were in an accident, you could receive a length prison sentence or have to pay large fines for several years.  You may also be ordered to attend community service, receive counseling, or install a breathalyzer device called an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) in your car.

DWI is a serious matter that has the potential to turn your life upside down.  If you have been charged with DWI in Egg Harbor Township, you deserve the benefit of an experienced defense attorney in your corner.  A lawyer can help protect your legal rights, advocate on your behalf in court, and may be able to reduce the charges against you or even have the charges dismissed. To schedule a free and private case evaluation with an experienced Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey DWI defense lawyer, call the law offices of Joseph Lombardo at (609) 418-4537 today.  Let’s start exploring your legal options together.

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When Can DWI Be Charged?

In New Jersey, a person with a BAC of 0.08% or greater who operates a motor vehicle or a boat is considered to be driving under the influence (DUI).  BAC is refers to the amount of alcohol in your blood.  Although the law sets a 0.08% threshold for BAC, you can be convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor even when your BAC is below 0.08 percent.  Consuming even small amounts of alcohol dulls the sense, decreases reaction time, and hampers judgment, vision and alertness.  If you consume any amount of alcohol and your driving is negatively impacted, you can be convicted of drunk driving. DUI laws do not just apply to drinking alcohol; it is also a violation for a person to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug. Additionally, you can also be convicted for allowing another person to operate a motor vehicle when that person does so in violation of the driving wile intoxicated (DWI) law.

You are probably familiar with breathalyzers, which are used to measure BAC. However, you might be unaware that breathalyzers are notoriously unreliable devices, and often display inaccurate readings, which may be a significant factor in your case.

If drugs are involved, there often is no BAC. However, a police officer is trained to detect erratic driving, and to identify visible drug paraphernalia.  Chemical testing can be used to detect the presence of drugs in the bloodstream or urine.  New Jersey also utilizes DREs (Drug Recognition Experts), who are specially trained to identify and interpret the signs of drug use.

What Are the Penalties for DWI in New Jersey?

If you are convicted of DWI in Egg Harbor Township or elsewhere in the state, you will be subject to a host of different penalties, including prison time, license suspension, and hefty fines.  As offenses accumulate, or if any aggravating factors are present (e.g. DWI in a school zone), the already harsh base-level penalties become tougher still.

The below penalties provide a general outline of the penalties a judge may impose. The judge has great latitude in sentencing and your penalties for DWI may be greater or less than those stated below based on the facts and circumstances of your case.

First offense:

Under New Jersey Law if an offender’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, but less than .10 percent, or if an offender permits another person with a BAC over 0.08 percent, but less than .10 percent to operate a vehicle the penalties are:

  • A fine of $250 – $400
  • Imprisonment for up to 30 days.
  • 3-month licenses suspension
  • A minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
  • An Automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.

Second Offense:

  • A Fine of $500-$1000
  • Imprisonment of at least 48 consecutive hours, and up to 90 days.
  • 2-year license suspension
  • 48 consecutive hours detained in a regional Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
  • An Automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of 1 year to 3 years after license restoration.

Third Offense:

  • A fine of $1,000
  • Imprisonment of 180 days
  • 10-year license suspension
  • Detainment in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program
  • A Fee to be paid to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center dependent upon court sentence.
  • An automobile insurance surcharge of 1,500 a year for 3 years.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of 1 year to 3 years after license restoration.

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Any offense also carries:

  • A $100 surcharge to be deposited in the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund.
  • A Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee of $100 and an intoxicate Driving Program fee of $100
  • A Violent Crimes Compensation Fund Fee of $50
  • A Safe and Secure Community Program fee of $75

It is very important to point out that if you are convicted and fail to pay your yearly surcharge of $1,000, there will be two extremely unpleasant consequences.

The Motor Vehicle Commission will file an action against you in State Superior Court.  This could lead to wage garnishment, property liens, and other means of debt collection. Additionally, your driving privileges will be suspended indefinitely.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer For Help Today

If you are facing DWI in Egg Harbor Township, you need an experienced defense lawyer by your side. To arrange for your free and private case evaluation, call the law offices of Joseph Lombardo at (609) 418-4537, or contact us online today.

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