Your Guide to DUI Laws and Legal Representation in New Jersey

Your Guide to DUI Laws and Legal Representation in New Jersey

In the state of New Jersey, driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious offenses that carry harsh penalties. If you’ve been charged with these offenses, it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of the state’s DUI laws and how a qualified New Jersey DUI attorney can help. This article will provide in-depth insights into all aspects of New Jersey’s DUI laws, penalties, defenses, and the importance of hiring a skilled DUI lawyer.

Understanding New Jersey’s DUI/DWI Laws

While some states make a distinction between DUI and DWI, New Jersey does not. Both terms are used interchangeably and refer to the traffic offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.

A Closer Look at the Laws

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code, under section 39:4-50, outlaws DUI and DWI offenses. It declares that it’s unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the intoxicating influence of alcohol, narcotics, hallucinogens, or habit-forming drugs. It also condemns operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

This law gives rise to two ways a person can be charged with DUI. First, they can be charged if they are “under the influence,” regardless of their BAC. Second, they can be charged if their BAC is 0.08% or above, even if the alcohol doesn’t seem to affect their driving capabilities.

Additional Related Offenses

In addition to DUI and DWI charges, individuals arrested for drunk driving in New Jersey often face charges for additional offenses, such as:

  • DUI with a minor aged 17 years or younger in the car
  • Possession of an open container
  • DUI resulting in injury or death
  • Refusing to consent to a breath test (“implied consent” violations)
  • Underage drunk driving under New Jersey’s “zero tolerance” law

Penalties for DUI/DWI in New Jersey

The penalties for a DUI conviction in New Jersey are steep and vary depending on the offender’s DUI history and whether any aggravating factors were present during the arrest.

First Offense – DUI/DWI

For a first-time DUI offense, the penalties can range from a fine of $200 to $400, insurance surcharges, indefinite license forfeiture, mandatory attendance at an Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center, up to 30 days in jail, and more.

Second Offense – DUI/DWI

A second DUI offense within 10 years carries enhanced fines, a two-year driver’s license suspension, and a jail sentence of two to 90 days.

Third Offense – DUI/DWI

A third DUI within 10 years carries enhanced fines, a 10-year driver’s license suspension, and a 180-day jail sentence (which can be reduced with inpatient treatment).

Consequences of Refusing a Breath Test

Under New Jersey’s implied consent law, drivers are legally obligated to submit to a breath test when pulled over on suspicion of DUI. Refusing to take the test can result in charges of breath test refusal, which carry their own set of penalties, such as more expensive fines, longer jail time, and a driver’s license suspension.

The Importance of Hiring a New Jersey DUI Lawyer

The complexities of New Jersey’s DUI laws underscore the need for skilled legal representation. A seasoned new jersey dui attorney can assess your case, advise on the best course of action, and represent you in court.

Experience Matters

The experience of a DUI lawyer can greatly influence the outcome of your case. Experienced attorneys understand the nuances of DUI laws, can scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence, and can identify any procedural mistakes or violations of your rights that occurred during your arrest.

Defending Against DUI Charges

There are several potential defenses to a DUI charge in New Jersey. An experienced DUI lawyer can help identify the best defense strategy for your unique situation.

Challenging BAC and Field Sobriety Test Results

As mentioned earlier, the results of BAC tests and SFSTs often play a crucial role in DUI cases. However, these tests are not always accurate or reliable. Medical conditions, faulty equipment, or improper administration can all affect the results. If administered improperly, a blood or breathalyzer test can be excluded as evidence.

Police Procedural Mistakes

Police officers must follow specific procedures when conducting traffic stops, making arrests, and administering breath tests. If they fail to follow these procedures, their failures can be used as a defense in court.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can mimic the symptoms of drunkenness and affect a person’s ability to perform field sobriety tests or blow into a breath test correctly. Therefore, if you have a medical condition that may have affected your performance on these tests, you may be able to use it as a defense in your case.


DUI charges in New Jersey are serious and carry severe penalties. However, with the help of an experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer, you can navigate the complex legal landscape, protect your rights, and fight for the best possible outcome. If you are facing DUI charges in New Jersey, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. The sooner you have a skilled DUI lawyer on your side, the better.


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