The state of New Jersey has two laws that dictate how you can be arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) sometime referred to as a New Jersey DUI. The traditional way you can be arrested for DWI in New Jersey is based on your driving pattern and field sobriety test results. If an officer thinks that you are driving in an unsafe manner, you can be pulled over and asked to submit to a field sobriety test. If you fail, you can be arrested for DWI. This type of arrest does not require a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. You can also be arrested under the state's per se law, which allows officers to arrest you if your BAC is above .08%. Even if you appear to be driving safely, driving with a BAC that is over the legal limit will result in an arrest.
DWI Arrests in New Jersey
When you are arrested for a DWI in New Jersey, you will be asked to submit to a BAC test. If you refuse, this evidence can be used against you in court. Also, your license will automatically be suspended for up to a year. In 2005 the New Jersey Congress passed a transportation bill. One of the provisions of the bill, known as John's Law, gives police officers the right to impound vehicles that are being driven by those who are under the influence of alcohol. By driving drunk, you risk losing your car.
Unlike many other states, New Jersey does not require an administrative hearing after a DWI arrest. All of the consequences for DWI, including license suspensions, are handed to the offender by the court. It is important to have a lawyer representing you when you go to court, because you have the right to request a "de novo" appeal. This allows your lawyer and the prosecution's lawyer to argue which law applies to your case. This could result in a not guilty decision. However, without a lawyer you cannot request this appeal.
Basic Consequences for First Time Offenders
If you are arrested for your first New Jersey DWI conviction, you can expect to face the following consequences:
DWI offences accumulate for 10 years. Subsequent offenses within that 10-year period bring stricter consequences, such as steeper fines and longer jail time.
License Suspensions for New Jersey DWI
Besides these consequences, a New Jersey DWI arrest will cause you to lose your right to drive. The times for license suspensions are as follows:
You may be able to get a probationary license after serving some of your suspension time. A qualified lawyer will help you retain your right to drive as long as possible.
If you are convicted of a New Jersey DWI, your consequences do not stop after you serve your license suspension. You will find that it is nearly impossible to get insurance coverage when you are ready to get your license back. Your current insurance company will either drop you or raise your rates to extremely high levels. If you are dropped, you may find that other insurance companies are not willing to take you on as a new customer because of your DWI conviction.