Life after a DWI Charge
In violating N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, the State of New Jersey imposes serious penalties for drunk driving. These DWI penalties get more severe as a person progresses from a first to a second and then third offense; and along with DUI charges, they are considered to be one of the most serious motor vehicle violations in NJ. A DWI arrest will show up on your driving record, potentially affect your career, insurance rates and lifestyle. Call us at [dyna_phone phone=’1′ format=’dashed’] for your free initial consultation today.
NJ is a Zero Tolerance State for Underage Drunk Driving
Since New Jersey is considered a zero-tolerance state; if a minor under 21 years of age is caught driving with a negligible percentage of alcohol in his or her blood, they will be arrested for a DWI immediately. The consequences of underage drinking (N.J.S.A. 2C: 33-15) in New Jersey and DWI convictions (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14) can carry some very harsh penalties and is taken very seriously.
Protect Your Future
Mistakes in breathalyzer testing or field sobriety tests can allow one to challenge the evidence that would be used by the municipal prosecutor at a trial. Knowledge of the Alcotest breath testing device is essential to effectively fight DWI charges in New Jersey. Without this technical knowledge, you may miss opportunities to challenge your DWI charge.
Protect yourself with a DWI lawyer trained in Standard Field Sobriety Testing used by all NJ law enforcement agencies. A driver’s performance on these tests is typically the deciding factor in whether the officer believes someone to be intoxicated. Despite what many think, a DWI conviction may be based entirely on the driver’s performance of the tests, even when they have a BAC of lower than .08%. However, many of the simple field sobriety tests used are inherently biased. Therefore, it is important to call an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney to protect your rights.
Step Down Provision N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a)(3).
The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that drunken drivers charged with multiple offenses may use a “step-down” provision in the state’s drunken driving statute more than once, provided that at least 10 years separates the previous driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction from the conviction at issue. A step-down for a first offense can only occur once. If the third offense takes place more than ten years after the second offense, it will be treated as a second offense and not as a first. But if that third offense occurs within a decade of the second offense, it will be treated as a third.
It’s important to remember that these convictions never disappear. But if they’re more than 10 years apart, it can affect how a person is sentenced.
Is a DWI Expungeable?
Since a DWI is not a criminal offense, but rather a motor vehicle offense, it cannot be expunged. Expungement refers to the isolation and extraction of jail, court or law enforcement records that relate to a criminal matter. Although an arrest for DWI is not expungeable, since a DWI is a motor vehicle offense, the arrest will not be entered into the National Crime Information Center database and future employer may not know that the driver was arrested. That is, unless the Motor Vehicle Commission records are also checked.
When to Seek Legal Help for a DWI
A DWI arrest in the State of New Jersey can affect a person’s life, regardless of whether or not they are ever convicted. If someone has been arrested or charged with a DWI, they need the help of a qualified and experienced DWI lawyer. At Villani & DeLuca, we can advise people of their rights and help plan the best possible defense for them. To schedule a free consultation, contact us!