Understanding DUI vs DWI in NJ

DUI vs DWI in NJThe acronyms DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) both refer to the illegal act of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other substances. While some states classify them as separate offenses, DUI and DWI in New Jersey are used in the same statute.

Overview of DUI vs DWI:

In NJ, the law does not make a distinction between DUI vs DWI; both are prosecuted under the same New Jersey DWI statute N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Even many NJ municipal court judges vary the usage of “DUI” and “DWI”.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Statute N.J.S.A. 39:4-50

A person who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher is considered to be driving under the influence. Driving under the influence also involves drugs, including illicit street drugs as well as prescription and even over-the-counter medications. Many drivers are unaware that taking legal, over-the-counter and lawful prescription drugs could result in a DWI arrest. If law enforcement pulls you over for suspicion of being under the influence, you could face the same charges whether you were drowsy from taking allergy medication or on heroin.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)

Driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID, is prosecuted similarly to New Jersey alcohol related drunk driving arrests. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) is considered a Motor Vehicle violation in NJ and is prosecuted in much the same way as drunk driving. The DUID law in NJ applies to anyone who operates a vehicle while under the influence of a “narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.”

Implied Consent Law Differences

New Jersey’s implied consent law requires you to take a breath test after an arrest for DWI. If you refuse and are detained you’ll be subject to penalties. Blood alcohol concentration is measured through a Alcotest® machine back at a law enforcement station. BAC evidence is not necessarily required to prove a DWI in court, but without it, prosecutors must rely on police officer observations and a more subjective series of tests called Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST).

But it’s important to note that the fundamental difference between alcohol and drug laws with regards to driving relates to the implied consent. New Jersey is one of the few states (along with Massachusetts and West Virginia) that do not extend its implied consent law beyond alcohol to allow for chemical testing for drugs; therefore, there are no provisions for collecting a specimen. That means New Jersey drivers are well within their rights to refuse such a test for drugs and they cannot be penalized for their refusal.

NJ DWI/DUI Defense Lawyer

Being convicted of a DWI is a serious offense that carries heavy penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving while intoxicated, contact the lawyers of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. to protect your rights as soon as possible. The DWI attorneys at Villani & DeLuca can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-389-9533. Call today for a free consultation on how to protect your rights.

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