Belmar DWI Lawyer

Belmar is a popular tourist destination, due to its proximity to the beach and its many restaurants and bars.  But especially when the weather warms up, local law enforcement officers are on the lookout for drunk drivers.  Driving while intoxicated is a very serious motor vehicle offense in New Jersey.  A conviction can impact your right to drive, your ability to work, and your finances.  If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated in Belmar, it is important to speak with a Belmar DWI lawyer as soon as possible.

The Legal Alcohol Limit in New Jersey

Operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher is considered driving while intoxicated in New Jersey.  When a driver is stopped on suspicion of DWI/DUI, the officer will ask the driver to submit to a breath test if arrested.  The breath test measures the concentration of alcohol in a single puff, or exhalation of air.

A driver may also be found driving under the influence through officer observation or other evidence.  For instance, the standardized field sobriety test (SFST) uses three separate tests to determine if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  During the SFST, the driver exits the vehicle and engages in various exercises that assist the officer in determining the driver’s level of intoxication.

There are other signs officers rely on in making a determination of drunk driving.  Examples include a strong odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath, the appearance of bloodshot eyes, or a driver’s mannerisms or slurred speech.

Refusing to Submit a Breath Sample in Belmar, NJ

Some drivers are unwilling to submit to a breath test, erroneously believing there is a right to refusal.  However, New Jersey has an implied consent law.  This means that in using the roadways of this state, drivers have agreed to submit to a breath test by a police officer following an arrest for DWI.

Refusal to submit to a breath test will result in a refusal charge under the NJ refusal statute in addition to a DWI charge.  If convicted of both charges, the penalties are twice as harsh.  If you have been charged with both DWI and refusal in Belmar, it is important to contact a Belmar DWI lawyer right away for help!

Potential Penalties of a Refusal Charge

Penalties for a refusal are similar to those imposed for a DWI where the driver has a BAC of .10% or higher.  Penalties are even more serious when the refusal occurs in a school zone or crossing.

For a first time refusal, there is a license suspension of 7 months to 1 year, a $300 to $500 fine, and 12 hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).  For a second refusal, there is 2-year license suspension, a $500 to $1,000 fine, and 12 hours in an IDRC.  For a third or subsequent refusal, there is a 10-year license suspension, a $1,000 fine, and 12 hours in an IDRC.

Refusing to submit to a chemical test in a school zone or crossing carries a 1 to 2 year license suspension for a first offense, as well as a $600 to $1,000 fine and 12 hours in an IDRC.  A second refusal in a school zone carries a license suspension of 4 years, a $1,000 to $2,000 fine and 12 hours in an IDRC.  A third or subsequent refusal in a school zone results in a license suspension of 20 years, a $2,000 fine, and 12 hours in an IDRC.

Additionally, refusal convictions require the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle during the time of license suspension and for a period of time after.  The interlock device comes along with installation and maintenance costs that can be costly.

The Importance of a Belmar DWI Lawyer When Fighting a Refusal

If you have been charged with a DWI or breath test refusal in Belmar, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.  At Villani & DeLuca, our attorneys will vigilantly protect your rights by investigating the circumstances of the traffic stop.  We know that a DWI is not just another ticket – it is a charge that can result in loss of your license, considerable fines, and even an increase in your car insurance rates.  For a free consultation with a Belmar DWI lawyer, call our offices today at (732) 965-3350.