Christmas and New Year’s Eve are two of the biggest holidays of the year and people often choose to celebrate with drinks. While someone of age enjoying a few drinks is harmless, getting behind the wheel of a car afterward is not. Driving while intoxicated is an incredibly dangerous act, and if you are pulled over and charged with a DWI, you may find yourself in serious legal trouble. Read on to learn more about DWIs in New Jersey and what to do if you are charged with one this holiday season.
What Exactly is a DWI?
DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. Another common acronym is “DUI.” This stands for Driving Under the Influence. In some states, these offenses carry different charges, but in New Jersey, the terms can be used interchangeably. A person receives a DWI when they operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or other drugs, including those prescribed by a doctor. When a person is intoxicated enough to become impaired, it is hazardous for them to be on the roads.
There are different levels of DWI, depending on your blood alcohol content (BAC), and your criminal history. Your BAC depends on your height, weight, how much alcohol you consumed, the type of alcohol you consumed, and the amount of time over which the alcohol was consumed. For a first offense, the charges are tiered. If you have a BAC of .08%-.09%, you will have a lesser punishment than if your BAC is above .09%.
For this offense, you may face the following charges:
- Loss of driving privileges for three months
- Up to 30 days in county jail
- Between $250-$400 in fines
- A $1,000 automobile insurance surcharge for three years
- Other fees and surcharges in excess of $525
- Possible Ignition Interlock requirement for 6-12 months
- Alcohol/substance abuse assessment
- 12 hours of mandatory alcohol classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).
- If your BAC is .10% and above, you will face all of the above court-ordered charges, plus:
- Forfeiture of driver’s license for 7-12 months
- $300-$500 in fines
- Mandatory Ignition Interlock 6 – 12 months if your BAC is above .15%
If you have received a DWI in the past, you will face a harsher penalty. Additionally, different rules apply if you are under the legal drinking age of 21 years old. Contact our firm to find out more about second and third offense charges, as well as an underage DWI charge.
What do I do if I got a DWI?
If you have received a DWI, it is important to obtain legal representation.
Contact Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC
Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC is an experienced Camden County criminal defense law firm located in Mt. Ephraim, New Jersey. We understand how potentially damaging a criminal can be, which is why we pride ourselves on our willingness to fight for our client’s rights. Our firm handles all criminal matters and is ready to provide you with our knowledgeable legal counsel. Do not hesitate to contact our firm to discuss your legal situation.