Understand Your Rights When Getting Pulled Over in New Jersey
Driving while intoxicated is illegal in all states, including New Jersey. A police officer may pull you over if he or she observes you not following traffic laws, weaving in and out of traffic, swerving or drifting off the road. You could also be pulled over if the officer sees an open container or suspects that you are intoxicated. It is important to know your rights and responsibilities when getting pulled over for a possible charge of driving while intoxicated.
Implied Consent for Blood Alcohol Content
New Jersey is an implied consent state. This means that when you earn a driver’s license issued by the state, you automatically permit the police to perform a blood alcohol content breath or blood test on you. If you refuse to be tested, the officer who pulled you over can arrest you at the time.
New Jersey’s Definition of Driving While Impaired Under the Per Se Section
A driving-while-impaired offense in New Jersey is defined in several ways. In New Jersey, it is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. This is the per-se part of the law. For people under the age of 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy. A blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent or higher in an underage person meets the state’s definition of impaired driving. You could be charged with this violation of the law even if you are operating the vehicle with the same level of precision, accuracy and caution as a sober driver.
Driving While Impaired or Intoxicated
A person who is driving while impaired is unable to operate a vehicle with the same caution and care as a person who is sober. For some people, this means that their blood alcohol content could be less than the state’s definition under the per-se part of the law. It is your quality of driving that counts, and you can be charged with a violation if your care and caution are lacking. Impaired driving could be a result of using medications, alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal drugs.
DWI With a Minor in Your Car
In New Jersey, the penalties for a conviction of DWI increase if you have a minor in your car at the time of getting pulled over. New Jersey defines a minor as someone who is 17 years old or younger. In addition to the DWI charge, you could be charged with a disorderly persons offense. A conviction of the disorderly persons offense could result in suspension or loss of your driver’s license, incarceration, fines, probation or community service penalties.
Penalties for a DWI Conviction
The penalties for a DWI conviction are dependent on whether or not it is your first offense, your blood alcohol content test results and other circumstances. The possible penalties for a first offense of DWI with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 to 0.099 include:
- A fine of $250 to $400
- Imprisonment for up to 30 days
- Three-month driver’s license suspension
- Intoxicated Driver Resource Center attendance for at least six hours per day for two consecutive days
- Automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years
If your blood alcohol content was 0.10 percent or higher, you could face penalties of:
- A $300 to $500 fine
- A seven-to-12-month license suspension
- $1,000 auto insurance surcharge for three years
- Mandatory Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for at least six hours per day for two consecutive days
- Imprisonment for up to 30 days
As one of New Jersey’s leading DWI attorneys, Denis Driscoll can offer you legal representation if you were pulled over while driving. If you are arrested with a charge of driving while impaired in New Jersey, call to schedule a consultation with Denis Driscoll today.