The New Jersey DWI laws can raise many questions for people concerning the meaning of a DWI, traffic stops, arrests, penalties and rights of DWI defendants. NJ DWI Law can sometimes be confusing without actual knowledge of the New Jersey DWI statutes. These are some questions that are commonly asked by people stopped under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated and charged with a DWI in New Jersey.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding DWI in New Jersey
What is a DWI?
DWI means driving while intoxicated under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. People who are twenty years of age or younger can receive a DWI with a BAC level of 0.01% or higher in New Jersey. According to NJ DWI law an individual may also be charged with DWI for driving while under the influence of drugs.
Can I be arrested if stopped under the suspicion of a DWI by a police officer?
Yes. Motorists can be arrested if stopped by an officer under the suspicion of impaired driving. Police may arrest a driver if they have probable cause to believe that you are driving while intoxicated. NJ DWI Law says this can be established by observations of motor vehicle violations and by the appearance and physical conduct of the driver.
What is the New Jersey DWI arrest process?
The New Jersey DWI arrest process starts with the traffic stop. When a driver is stopped, the officer will ask questions, instruct the motorist to step out of the vehicle and perform a standardized field sobriety test (sfst). If the police officer has probable cause that the motorist was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer will then lawfully arrest the driver.
If a DWI arrest occurs, when is the defendant released?
Drivers arrested for violating NJ DWI law can be released twelve hours after the time of their arrest, unless another responsible driver is available to retrieve them after they have been processed .
Do I need a lawyer after being released?
Individuals arrested for violating NJ DWI Law should seek legal representation. Without a DWI lawyer, a defendant can jeopardize receiving higher penalties than necessary.
Can DWI convictions be removed from an individual's record?
No. Unlike some disorderly persons and indictable offenses, DWI convictions cannot be removed from an individual's record because it is a traffic violation — not a criminal offense.
Is a DWI a criminal violation?
No. A DWI in New Jersey isn't considered a criminal violation. It is actually considered a “quasi-criminal” traffic offense that is governed by NJ DWI Law.
What are the penalties for a DWI conviction?
NJ DWI Law states that DWI convictions can carry penalties including fines, jail time, auto insurances surcharges, Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) classes, interlock device installation and community service. The fines imposed can range from $250 up to $2000 and jail time can be for as long as 180 days. The cost of IDRC programs and other fund fees will reach hundreds of dollars. The long term insurance surcharges range from $3,000 to $4,500 for three years. All penalties are imposed in accordance with factors such as prior convictions, BAC levels, age of the defendant and location of the arrest.