Today, there is greater awareness of the perils of drunk driving in South Jersey: not only can driving while intoxicated lead to accidents, injuries and deaths, this is a serious offense. If you are facing charges for drunk driving or driving under the influence, the penalties can be severe, including fines, fees and surcharges. In addition, you may lose your driving privileges and even face jail time.
At Sitzler and Sitzler law offices, we routinely defend clients against DWI/DUI charges throughout the State of New Jersey, particularly in Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Atlantic, Ocean, Mercer, and Cape May Counties. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, you may be afraid and not know where to turn. Don’t go it alone. Our experienced attorneys will vigorously fight to protect your rights.
Drunk Driving Laws in New Jersey
Because driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous, DWI and DUI laws are strictly enforced in New Jersey. A person may be found guilty of drunk driving in South Jersey if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more while operating a motor vehicle; the BAC limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 percent.
However, you can still be convicted for consuming any amount of alcohol that negatively impacts your ability to drive. It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-forming drugs. You can also face charges for allowing another person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs to operate a motor vehicle. Lastly, there is zero tolerance for drunk driving by minors and the BAC limit for those under the age of 21 is 0.01 percent.
New Jersey DWI/DUI Penalties
DUI First Offense
A conviction for a first DUI offense with a BAC anywhere from 0.08-0.10 in New Jersey can result in a fine of $250-$400; a detainment period of 12-48 hours served over the course of two consecutive days; imprisonment for up to 30 days; and the forfeiture of the right to operate a motor vehicle until such time as an ignition interlock device is installed in your vehicle. For a first DWI conviction with a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher, the penalties are more severe, including fines between $300 and $500 as well as a license suspension between seven months and one year, and a mandatory ignition interlock system must be installed on the person’s vehicle. In addition you must participate in two days of six-hour alcohol classes in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. You must also pay an automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.
DUI Second Offense
The consequences for repeat offenders are harsh. A conviction within ten years of a first offense will lead to fines between $500 and $1,000, 30 days of community service, a minimum one-year license suspension, and prison time of two to 90 days. You must also submit to 12-48 hours detention in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, pay $3,000 in automobile insurance surcharges over a three-year period, be subjected to installation of an ignition interlock device for one to three years after license restoration, and pay other related surcharges.
DUI Third Offense
The penalties for a third offense for an arrest within ten years of a second offense increase in severity, including a minimum fine of $1,000, a maximum of 90 days of community service, detainment in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program, 180 days of jail time, a ten-year license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device one to three years after license restoration, and automobile insurance and other surcharges.
DUI In a School Zone
If you are convicted for driving under the influence in a school zone in South Jersey, you may face an additional fine of $500 to $800, 60 additional days of jail time, and loss of driving privileges for an additional one to two years.
Drunk Driving with a Minor
A parent or guardian who is convicted of driving while intoxicated with a passenger in the vehicle who is 17 years of age or younger may be found guilty of a disorderly persons offense, forfeit driving privileges for a maximum of six months and must perform community service for up to five days.
What is the Implied Consent Rule?
All individuals who receive a driver’s license in the state are subject to the implied consent rule. This means that if you get arrested for DUI in South Jersey, you must submit to a breathalyzer test. If you refuse to take the test, you will be detained and brought to a hospital where a blood sample may be taken. You will also automatically lose your driving privileges.
DWI/DUI Defense Lawyer in New Jersey
A conviction for drunk driving or driving under the influence will remain on your permanent traffic record which may interfere with your livelihood, causing you to lose your job or hinder future employment opportunities. However, being charged with DWI/DUI in South Jersey does not mean you will automatically be convicted. The highly skilled defense attorneys at Sitzler and Sitzler will diligently represent you and strive to achieve the best outcome of your case.
Attorneys John S. Sitzler, James Gerrow, Jr., and Brenda R. Maneri, have considerable experience as former municipal and superior court prosecutors. We are well-versed in all local and state DWI/DUI regulations and have long standing relationships with local and state law enforcement, prosecutors and the department of motor vehicles.
We will obtain, review and challenge police reports, field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, medical records and related reports. We will thoroughly prepare and present your defense, working to minimize your charges and penalties, protect your license and avoid any jail time.
If you are facing DUI/DWI charges in the State of New Jersey, particularly in Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Atlantic, Ocean, Mercer, and Cape May Counties, contact the Sitzler and Sitzler law offices today at (609) 267-1101 for a free consultation.