Union County DWI Lawyer Protecting the Rights of the Accused for 60 years
Drivers who operate their vehicles while chemically impaired on the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Route 81, or any Union County road can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) by the state or local police. The officer will normally ask the driver to submit to a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test. In some cases, the police officer will request a blood test.
Accessible help when you need it most for a DWI charge
DWI and DUI convictions carry serious consequences. At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., our attorneys understand the full range of defenses that can be used to protect your rights. Often, we are able to have the charges reduced or dismissed – especially if the police did not follow appropriate protocols. Our Union County criminal attorneys are experienced trial lawyers who treat each client like family. We work with professional investigators and scientific experts when appropriate to help contest drunk or drugged driving and criminal charges.
What are per se violations?
In order to be convicted for driving while intoxicated, the prosecution must be able to show that a person was driving a vehicle and his/her control of that vehicle was impaired. Impairment means the person was not able to stop in time, react appropriately, pass, or maneuver a vehicle – in the same way that a person who was sober would respond to traffic conditions.
The prosecution can prove someone was driving while intoxicated without the use of any chemical tests or even without the use of any field sobriety tests. It’s up to a jury to decide if the driver was impaired.
The police normally use chemical tests, such as breath tests, to strengthen their argument to the jury that the driver was impaired.
The prosecution also uses blood alcohol concentration tests because it’s easier to prove guilt. Any driver whose BAC test result is above a preset limit is guilty automatically. That’s what per se means – automatically, by virtue of, or as a matter of law. In DWI cases, nationwide, a .08 BAC means the person is guilty of drunk driving per se. The way to defeat the per se charge is to demonstrate that either the police did not have the legal right to conduct the chemical test or that the test was invalid.
Our Union County DWI lawyers have successfully brought such challenges in a number of cases involving chemical impairment.
DWI penalty details
The sentencing possibilities and fines do vary depending on the results of chemical tests.
First time offender’s who are found guilty per se, or because a jury or judge was convinced the driver drove drunk, will:
- Link to: NJ’s DWI penalty PDF
- Be sentenced to up to 30 days in prison
- Have to pay fines up to $400
- Be ordered to pay additional fees for different driving and safety funds
- Have their license suspended for three months
- Receive an automatic insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years
- Be ordered to complete two six-hour sessions at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
- May be ordered to complete community service
- May be ordered to use an IID—ignition interlock device—to start their vehicle
The jail time length and the amount of fines and penalties increase with subsequent convictions in a 10-year period.
The possible jail time also increases if the driver is charged with a DWI/DUI in a school zone.
Jail times for school zone drunk driving or drugged driving are:
- 1st offense: 1-2 years instead of 7-12 months.
- 2nd offense: 4 years instead of 2 years
- 3rd offense: 20 years instead of 10 years.
The financial consequences for a school zone DWI/DUI are double those for non-school zone drunk or drugged driving.
A per se finding that the driver’s BAC was .10 or more will result in:
- Jail time for up to 30 days
- Fines up to $500 plus additional penalties
- Loss of driving privileges for at least seven months and possibly a year
They will also have the same insurance surcharge, IDRC requirements, and possible IID and community service requirements as .08 cases.
If the defendant’s BAC is .15 or more, the driver will likely be required to use an IID device for six to twelve months once their driver’s license is restored.
Additional penalties in DWI Cases
New Jersey drivers give their implied consent to have a breath or blood test taken if a police officer has reasonable suspicion to believe they were driving while intoxicated. The refusal to take the test can be used in court provided the police officer advised the driver what would happen if he/she refused the chemical test. Most juries will assume that the only reason for the refusal was because the driver was drunk.
Drivers who refuse a breath or blood test to measure their blood alcohol content will also receive additional penalties, including longer driving suspension periods, additional fines, and mandatory completion of 12 hours of Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) education.
Make the call to an aggressive Union County drunk driving lawyer now
There are defenses to drunk driving and drugged driving charges. Often, the prosecution cannot prove each element of their case. The police may not have followed proper procedures, or your rights may have been violated. To speak with an experienced Union County DWI and DUI lawyer, please phone Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. today. Our lawyers can be reached at (908) 561-5577 or by completing our contact form.