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Drunk Driving: New Jersey DUI Traffic Offenses

The laws regarding driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated in New Jersey are somewhat different from those in many of the surrounding states.  For example, in some states, it is considered a crime to drive under the influence (DUI) or to drive while intoxicated (DWI) and those individuals arrested for DUI or DWI are charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specifics of the case. 

In New Jersey, both DUI and DWI are considered traffic offenses, not crimes, although it remains important to consult with a New Jersey DUI lawyer as soon as possible after being charged with a DUI offense.  Another difference is that the terms “driving under the influence” and “driving while intoxicated” are synonyms in New Jersey meaning that they are both used to describe the same thing and are used interchangeably.

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code describes the offense and the penalties that can result from all traffic offenses including DUI.  Section 39:4-50(a) of the statute defines the traffic offense of driving under the influence as follows:

a person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant's blood or permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control or permits another to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant's blood.”

Penalties for New Jersey DUI

There are different penalties imposed after a New Jersey DUI conviction depending on the specifics of the case including:

  • Was it a first or subsequent conviction for DUI?
  • What was the driver’s blood alcohol content?
  • Did the driver enter a school zone while under the influence?

         
It is important to discuss these and other circumstances surrounding a case with an experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer because even a conviction for a first time DUI traffic offense carries serious consequences including:

  • Driving suspension for up to 1 year;
  • Fines;
  • State imposed surcharges
  • Jail time at the discretion of the Judge for periods less than 30 days;
  • Insurance surcharges;
  • Interlock device for a period up to one year after the driving suspension;
  • Time at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center, as well as screening, evaluation, and referral.

Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A – We Are Here to Help You Build a Defense

The DUI attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. understand how stressful it can be to be charged with a DWI traffic offense. While it may be a traffic offense and not a felony, there are still significant consequences for a conviction with serious financial and life altering effects making it important to work with our team of lawyers who are ready to work diligently to build your strongest defense. Contact our office today.

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