Driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, and refusal to perform a breath test, are all serious traffic offenses in New Jersey. New Jersey drinking and driving laws impose severe penalties for individuals who are found guilty of drunk driving. Under the New Jersey DWI statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50:
1. No person is to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug;
2. A person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% by weight of blood (BAC) is deemed to be “per se” intoxicated for purposes of determining whether a violation has occurred; and
3. No person is to permit operation of a vehicle by a person under the influence or intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug.
Penalties for Violation of the NJ drunk driving statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, include:
• First Offense DWI or DUI: $250-$400, IDRC, 3 months – 1 year suspension, possible 30 days in jail.
• Second Offense DWI or DUI: $500-$1,000, 30 days community service, 2-90 days in jail, 2 year suspension.
• Third Offense DWI or DUI: $1,000 fine, 180 days in jail, 10 year suspension.
Necessary elements of a violation of New Jersey’s drinking and driving statute are: (1) proof of operation; and (2) a motor vehicle. The element of “operation” is customarily established through actual observations of operation or circumstantial evidence demonstrating operation. It is not essential that the State prove actual physical movement of the vehicle to satisfy the requirement of operation but simply that it was the motorist’s intention to operate the vehicle and that the vehicle was capable of moving. The State typically attempts to establish “intent” by presenting evidence that the defendant placed the keys of the vehicle in the ignition and/or that the vehicle was running. We are aware of the complexities of the issue of “operation” and we are prepared to defend our clients.
The State must also prove that you were intoxicated. Intoxication is defined as “substantial deterioration or diminution of the mental faculties or physical capabilities of a person” resulting from ingestion of alcohol or drugs. Intoxication from alcohol is established through breath test samples or blood tests demonstrating a blood alcohol content at or above the legal limit of .08%. The current mechanism for testing breath samples in New Jersey is a device commonly referred to as a breathalyzer. The breathalyzer is not infallible and has caused a great deal of litigation.
If the state is unable to establish a violation through breath sample or blood, law enforcement may attempt to establish intoxication through field sobriety testing, which are subject to interpretation. There are many defenses to driving while intoxicated that can be employed to defend such a charge.
Give us a call today, 732-377-2005.