This post is the first part of a two-part article on DWI charges in New Jersey. The second part of this article, focused on DWI defense strategies, will be posted on this blog page later this week.
New Jersey law enforcement and courts take drunk driving very seriously. Officers usually offer little mercy during traffic stops and judges certainly show no leniency when it comes to handing down harsh sentences. In fact, many penalties associated with DWI convictions are mandatory in New Jersey; this include loss of driving privileges and, depending on the circumstances, jail time.
However, contrary to what your friends may have told you, getting stopped for DWI is not always a an open-and-shut-case. In fact, there are many defenses an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer can use to protect your driver’s license and your record.
Meet John W. Tumelty, longtime Atlantic City criminal defense lawyer. Mr. Tumelty maintains, “DWI cases can be won.”
First, let’s understand the legal definition of drunk driving in New Jersey. DWI is determined by the level of alcohol in your bloodstream at the time of the traffic stop. Prosecutors use the level of a person’s BAC (blood alcohol content) as the strongest piece of evidence to convict drivers suspected of drinking while under the influence of alcohol. The BAC is determined when the suspected drunk driver blows into a breathalyzer, the Alcotest machine.
The adult limit for BAC in New Jersey is .08 percent. If your BAC is a .08 percent or higher when you take the test, you can be charged with DWI. If your BAC is .10 or higher, the penalties will be harsher. Drivers under age 21 face underage DWI charges if the Alcotest reveals a BAC as low as .01 percent.
Mr. Tumelty will attack the breath test readings, as well as field sobriety tests and even urine and blood tests as part of a comprehensive effort to defend you against DWI charges. To be successful in attacking DWI charges in New Jersey, your case needs to be strong and brought by an aggressive lawyer who 1) knows which motions need to be filed right away to preserve your rights; 2) is willing to challenge all pieces of evidence including whether there was probable cause for the traffic stop to begin with; and 3) even question the credibility of the officer who administered your tests.
The penalties associated with being convicted of drunk driving in New Jersey are life-altering. You will lose your driving privileges which will make it difficult to get to work or school. The fees you will be forced to pay can be exorbitant. You may even face time in jail. When you get your license back, you may have to deal with an Ignition Interlock device that will record your every move behind the wheel of your car.
Even though DWI charges in New Jersey are categorized as traffic violations and heard in traffic court, they are serious business. If you or someone you love is facing drunk driving charges in New Jersey, contact Mr. Tumelty right away for a free consultation about your case.
John W. Tumelty is a former prosecutor and long-time criminal defense lawyer in Atlantic and Cape May counties in South Jersey. He fights aggressively for his clients and will leave no stone unturned as he mounts a defense against your DWI charges.
Check back later this week to read Part 2 of this two-part article about some of the defense strategies Mr. Tumelty has used successful to help clients beat DWI charges in New Jersey.