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New Jersey DWI: Basic facts you should know

Whether planning a trip to Ocean City or a special night out on the town in one of Atlantic City's casinos, New Jersey has a lot to offer residents and tourists, especially during summer. Like all other states, there are laws here that govern your use of alcohol or medication in relation to operating a motor vehicle. The last thing you need in the middle of summer break is to face DWI charges in court.  

Just because a police officer arrests you on suspicion of DWI doesn't necessarily mean the court will convict you. A lot can happen between the moment of your arrest and final adjudication. In fact, you may know someone whose DWI case never even made it to trial because the court ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge him or her. A key factor in avoiding DWI conviction is knowing your rights and how to protect them

Research DWI laws before driving in New Jersey 

DWI is a general category that means you are facing charges of driving while intoxicated; however, that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with alcohol. The state includes prescription and non-prescription drugs in its legal definition of DWI. The following list includes other facts that may apply to your situation: 

  • If authorities determine you had .08 percent or higher of alcohol in your bloodstream while driving, the state will count you as legally intoxicated. 
  • You will likely face a separate charge known as a per se charge if that's the case. 
  • If you happen to be under age 21, you should know that New Jersey operates under a no tolerance law for underage drinking, in which case .02 percent BAC qualifies a per se charge. 
  • Under implied consent rules, when you obtained a New Jersey driver's license, you agreed to submit to a lawfully requested Breathalyzer test if police suspect you of DWI. 
  • The state may suspend your driver's license up to three months for a first offense and as long as 10 years for a third offense. 
  • You may have to install an ignition interlock device in your car if your blood alcohol concentration was high or the court lists you as a repeat offender. 

There are other issues that may compound your problems when facing DWI charges in New Jersey, such as if you had a minor in your vehicle with you when the arrest took place. Certain regulations bind the police and direct their words and actions during traffic stops. Deviation from such protocol may violate your personal rights. If you think this has happened in your case, you can take steps to request a dismissal of all charges or challenge a portion of evidence against you in court. 

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