What You Need to Know About DUI/DWI Convictions
In 2017, more than 10,000 people died in car crashes. Of these crashes, 29% were due to impaired driving. To change this alarming trend, New Jersey law enforcement, prosecutors and judicial officials are taking a systematic approach charging DUI/DWI offenders.
DUI vs. DWI
A DUI is driving under the influence, and a DWI is driving while intoxicated. In some states, there are different penalties for a DUI versus a DWI, but the state of New Jersey considers them the same offense. This means that you could receive the same penalties when charged with a DUI or a DWI.
A DWI may involve substances other than alcohol, such as substances like marijuana, prescription medications or illegal drugs. Even if a person is legally in possession of a prescription drug and uses it as directed, New Jersey courts may still charge them with a DWI.
The Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC, level does not specify the type of substance in a person’s system. It only determines whether or not a person is too impaired to operate a vehicle safely.
What Is New Jersey’s Legal BAC Limit?
Under New Jersey law, you are considered too impaired to drive if your Blood Alcohol Concentration level is 0.08% or higher. However, you may be convicted of a DUI or a DWI even if you are within the legal limit, but for this to happen, law officials must prove that you were under the influence of a drug and driving unsafely. They may use things like a failed field sobriety test, video evidence or witness statements to prove to a jury that you were too impaired to drive safely.
What Are the State’s Penalties for DUI and DWI?
If you are a first-time DUI or DWI offender, you could face the following penalties:
- Spending up to 30 days in jail
- A fine of $250 to $500
- A license suspension of three months to one year
- Having your vehicle locked with an interlocking device
If you’re facing a second DUI or DWI offense, then the penalties become more serious. With a second offense, you may:
- Spend as long as 90 days in jail
- Be required to pay a fine of $500 to $1,000
- Have your license suspended for up to two years
- Be required to place an interlocking device on your car
With a third offense, the penalties become even more severe. If you are charged with a third DUI or DWI, you may:
- Be required to spend up to 180 days in jail
- Have to pay a $1,000 fine
- Have your driver’s license suspended for as long as 10 years
Additional DUI/DWI Consequences
A DUI or DWI conviction can have a serious impact on your career. Colleges may not accept you, or if you’re considering joining the military, you may be denied. A DUI can mean a lost scholarship or missed athletic opportunity with a school program. With a DUI on your record, you may not be selected for an important internship. You could even lose the job that you currently have. This is especially true if you drive a vehicle for your profession.
Once you’re charged with a DUI/DWI in New Jersey, the state will book and process you, which means that law officials will take your picture and fingerprints. The next step is that a judge will set a trial date. You’ll want an experienced DUI lawyer with you when you appear at your trial.
Hire a Lawyer Who Specializes in DUI Cases
If you’ve been charged with a DUI or a DWI, consider hiring a lawyer who understands these types of cases. A DUI/DWI is a serious charge, so it’s important to get legal help from someone who knows how to defend it. Contact the office of Denis Driscoll in Parsippany, NJ, at (973) 947-7111. Our firm offers free consultations to prospective clients.