What Happens After an Arrest and Charge of DWI in New Jersey?

When someone’s arrested for DWI what are they facing? Are they just facing one criminal charge? Are they facing civil, administrative charges? What’s the totality of it?

First Time Offenders: Possible Jail Term, Loss of License, Fines, Surcharges and Counseling

The totality of the charge is pretty extensive. On a first offense DWI, the first trigger point is what their blood alcohol content was. If his or her blood alcohol level was between 0.08 and 0.10 they are facing a three-month loss of license. They are looking at fines of approximately $1,000. They are looking at jail time of up to 30 days. They are looking at the New Jersey surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years, and they are looking at 12 to 48 hours at the IDRC, which is essentially drug and alcohol training. And that’s for someone between 0.08 and 0.10. By the way, IDRC stands for Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.

It is important to note: Most of the time, if people have consumed two to three cocktails in a short period of time, there’s a good likelihood their blood alcohol level is going to be above a 0.10. In that case, they’re looking at a seven-month to one-year loss of license and about $1,000 to $1,500 in fines.

It’s a New Jersey surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years, a prison term of up to 30 days, and 12 to 48 hours in the IDRC. Obviously, that’s a much steeper license suspension.

Ignition Interlock Devices

The other issue is if they are above a 0.15, there is a mandatory Interlock ignition device, and they may have to have that for six months to one year upon restoration of their license, and that alone will cost $200 to $250 a month, plus the imposition. They pay for it.

The Interlock device is that small Breathalyzer device that you blow into to start your car and to keep it going, right?

Correct. And you have to take it once a month to these facilities. It’s a major imposition; and these are the penalties for first-time offenders.

Criminal and Administrative Charges

Are the driver’s license charges, or loss of license, is that part of the criminal process, or is it something else?

It’s part of the criminal process. It’s managed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, but it is part of the conviction.

So, you have to fight on multiple fronts. When you’re charged with DWI you have to fight to try to maintain your license if you can, you have to try to stay out of jail, and you have to try to fight the charges themselves.

There are frequently companion tickets associated with a DWI. Typically there’s a reckless driving, careless driving, speeding. The police may add on other tickets as well.

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RESULTS

NO JAIL TIME

Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)

Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.

CASE DISMISSED

Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)

Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.

CASE DISMISSED

Commonwealth v. "S"

Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.

CASE DISMISSED

State of New Jersey v. "H"

Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.

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