New Jersey DWI FAQs
What Happens To My Driver’s License After A Drugged Driving Arrest In New Jersey?
As with any DWI, there will be no action against your license or other consequences unless or until there is a conviction. However, if you are convicted of a DWI charge due to drugs (as opposed to alcohol), you will face more severe penalties.
First-time offenders face a seven-to-12-month hard revocation with no interlock requirement.
Second or subsequent offenders receive the same penalties for drugged driving as a person convicted of drunk driving.
Second-time offenders face one-to-two-years hard revocation of driving privileges followed by two-to-four-years of interlock restriction.
Third or subsequent offenders face an eight-year hard revocation of driving privileges followed by a two-to-four-year interlock restriction.
Convictions also bring fines that can range up to as much as $1,390 and additional administrative surcharges and other fees totaling between $3,755 and $5,755, depending on driving record.
What Happens To My Driver’s License After A DWI Conviction In New Jersey If I Am A Commercial Driver?
A DWI conviction for a commercial driver will profoundly impact the commercial driver’s endorsement.
A commercial driving endorsement is removed for one year for a first offense, even if it occurred in the driver’s personal vehicle. For second offenses, the commercial driving endorsement is revoked for life. Many states define a “lifetime revocation” as 10 years, but in New Jersey, we define “lifetime” as lifetime. Unless the statute is ever amended, second-time DWI convictions result in commercial drivers finding themselves permanently out of business.
Also, different legal limits apply to professional while operating commercial vehicles. The legal limit for a commercial driver operating a commercial vehicle is a BAC of 0.04%. These DWIs will have the same effect on the commercial driving endorsement as a regular DWI in a personal vehicle.
Bottom line: The State of New Jersey is especially concerned that commercial drivers don’t drink and drive.
What Happens If I Refuse The Breath Or Blood Test In New Jersey After A DWI Arrest?
A person arrested for DWI has no legal obligation to provide a blood sample unless police obtain a warrant from a judge. So refuse to give blood, absent a warrant.
As for breath sample requests, New Jersey, like almost all other states, has an implied consent law. This means that if an officer has probable cause to believe that you may have been operating a vehicle while under the influence, the officer has the right to arrest you for a DWI. That officer must then advise you of your rights and obligations regarding submitting breath samples by reading a document called a Standard Statement. You must then agree, and you are obligated or face a separate charge for breath test refusal.
Ironically first offense penalties for refusing to submit breath samples are more severe than those for a DWI. Therefore, I generally recommend that people do submit breath samples when asked to do so.
There may be rare exceptions where you wouldn’t follow that advice, however, such as in the case of a third-time or subsequent offender who knows he or she is drunk. In these cases, a refusal may give that person a way to avoid jail time. However, refusal to submit to a breath test for a third or subsequent time would result in an eight-year hard revocation followed by two to four years of interlock installment.
The odds of being convicted of a refusal offense are much higher than that of being convicted of a DWI because it’s much easier for the State to prove the elements of refusal charges. And convictions for breath test refusal do not enhance penalties for later DWI convictions. Prior DWI convictions will enhance a breath test refusal conviction. Don’t expect a later refusal to be treated as a first offense.
As DWI Is Not A Criminal Offense In New Jersey, Do I Really Need A DWI Attorney?
In New Jersey, DWI is considered a traffic offense and not a criminal charge. While this may seem beneficial at face value, it’s crucial to understand the lasting consequences of DWI convictions and the vital role an attorney plays in finding a positive outcome.
Unlike criminal offenses, most of which can be expunged from your record after a period of time, DWIs are not eligible for expungement in New Jersey. Not only does this mean that your DWI will remain on your record forever, but future traffic offenses will be affected by the presence of a DWI. Certain driving violations that would not ordinarily be considered criminal offenses may be elevated to criminal charges because of a DWI on a traffic record.
New Jersey imposes hefty fines on individuals convicted of DWI and breath test refusal–as much as $1,390 and additional administrative surcharges and other fees totaling between $3,755 and $5,755, depending on driving record. What’s more, insurance premiums will typically go up two to four times after a DWI or breath test refusal conviction. This is especially important to keep in mind considering that New Jersey is already tied with Washington, D.C., for the highest automobile insurance rates in the country.
All of this can feel overwhelming, but there’s no need to let your DWI case get out of hand. From examining whether the breath test was administered properly to finding unreliable evidence in the prosecution’s case, many opportunities may arise that can provide you with an excellent defense. Many issues can put the case against you into question, and a skilled attorney will be able to help you fight the charge each step of the way.
Good legal representation is crucial to a positive outcome. The attorney must have the knowledge, experience, and skill to understand the many facets of a DWI case. Our firm has seen thousands of DWI cases go to trial, only to be dismissed on the grounds of an error in breath test administration or failure of the prosecutor to lay a proper foundation for admission of a breath test result. Keep in mind that while the errors that can get a case dismissed are often simple, they are difficult to find without a practiced eye. When facing such serious consequences, choosing the right attorney is the best way to protect your future and achieve a best-case scenario.
For more information on Drugged Driving Arrest In New Jersey, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 218-9090 today.
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