Drunk Driving

New Jersey DWI Attorney

East Brunswick DWI lawyer Leon Matchin is dedicated to helping motorists beat driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges and preserve their privilege to drive. For over 10 years, Mr. Matchin has successfully challenged evidence relating to drunk driving arrests. He provides effective legal representation to clients charged in the Municipal and Superior Courts of Middlesex, Mercer, and Monmouth Counties, as well as in other local communities.

New Jersey’s Drunk Driving Laws

New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.) 39:4-50 prohibits operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or more, drivers may still be arrested for DWI with lower BAC levels. Even small quantities of alcohol or drugs can impair driving. Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a), DWI does not only apply to motorists with BACs between .08 and .10 percent, but also drunk drivers who:

  • “Permit others” under the influence to operate their motor vehicles
  • Drive through school crossing or within 1,000 feet of school property
  • Refuse Chemical or Breathalyzer test (all drivers give implied consent)
  • Operate a boat on New Jersey waterways or MOPED (under 17 years old)
  • Are under 21 and have .01 BAC or “any detectable amount of alcohol” in their system
  • Are intoxicated by liquor, narcotics, hallucinogens, or other “habit-forming” drugs
    • Any chemical substance “capable of causing” intoxication or inebriation
    • Includes inhalants, toxic vapors, fumes, glue, cement, or other substances
  • Hold out-of-state licenses or were convicted of a similar violation in another state unless:
    • Proof that out-of-state conviction based on BAC less than .08%

Parents and guardians convicted of DWI while driving a passenger under 17 years of age are also guilty of a “disorderly persons” offense and forfeit their right to drive for up to 6 months. DWI penalties increase with BAC levels, previous offenses, and if an accidental injury is involved. Courts may require that repeat DWI and refusal offenders install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. First-time offenders with BAC above .15% also have to install the device.

DWI Penalties and Charges

Motorists convicted of alcohol or drug-related DWI face severe criminal penalties. Because all New Jersey drivers give implied consent to submit to chemical or breath tests by holding a license, the penalties for refusing the test often exceed those imposed on first-time offenders. The penalties for a first DWI with BAC between .08% and .10% may include:

  • 3-month license suspension
  • Up to 30 days’ imprisonment
  • 6-month license delay if underage
  • $1,000 insurance surcharge for 3 years
  • At least 12 hours of community service
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center fine
  • Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation fee
  • Completion of alcohol evaluation program

Failure to pay DWI surcharges may result in indefinite license suspension, wage garnishment, or a lien against property. Because New Jersey law does not provide conditional/special work licenses during suspension, motorists are strictly prohibited from driving until their privileges are restored. Driving with a DWI suspension may result in an additional 1 to 2-year suspension.

Fighting Drunk Driving Charges

If you have been charged with a DWI-related offense, New Brunswick drunk driving attorney Leon Matchin can help. Since 2001, Mr. Matchin has successfully fought drug and alcohol-related convictions for motorists throughout New Jersey. For example, by challenging the collection or quality of evidence obtained by law enforcement, Mr. Matchin can eliminate the basis of the case against you, requiring dismissal. Knowing the serious consequences of a DWI conviction, you should act now to preserve your driving privileges and financial future. Call (732) 662-7658 today for a free consultation or contact us online.