A conviction for drunk driving in New Jersey could have devastating consequences, including suspension of your driver’s license, heavy monetary fines, and possible jail time. Since even a first-time DWI offense will result in the mandatory loss of your license, it is crucial that you have a qualified DWI and traffic defense attorney representing you throughout the legal process.
Although many motorists in NJ are aware of the severe penalties that can be imposed for a drunk driving conviction, not everyone knows that there are a number of ways that they can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). That’s because law enforcement has a great deal of discretion when it comes to arresting a person for drunk driving.
Here are some of the ways you could be charged with a DWI or a DUI in New Jersey:
1. Failing a Breath Test Reading: Failed breath test readings are the most common cause of drunk driving charges in NJ. When a police officer pulls you over and suspects that you are intoxicated, they may ask you to take a breath test. If you register a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher on the breath test, you can be charged with a DWI.
2. Police Officer’s Observations: Contrary to popular belief, NJ motorists can be charged with drunk driving even if they do not fail a breath test. In fact, a little-known way that you can be charged with a DWI in New Jersey is if a police officer observes you exhibiting signs and symptoms of intoxication. These symptoms may include bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, the odor of alcohol on your breath, and a flushed face.
3. Failing a Field Sobriety Test: Some field sobriety tests, such as the Walk-and-Turn test and the One-Leg-Stand test, can be used by law enforcement as evidence of intoxication. However, keep in mind that you are not legally required to consent to a field sobriety test.
4. Refusing to Take a Breath Test: Although you technically won’t be charged with a DUI simply for refusing to submit to a breath test, you will still be subject to severe penalties that include the loss of your driving privileges in New Jersey. Moreover, it will be almost impossible to challenge the Breath Test Refusal charge because every motorist consents to taking a breath test by virtue of operating a vehicle on NJ roads. Beyond that, most charges for Breath Test Refusal are accompanied by DWI charges based on the police officer’s observations.
5. Open Container of Alcohol in Car: NJ law prohibits motorists from having an open container of alcohol in their vehicles. While this won’t necessarily lead to a DUI charge, it can be one factor used by police to arrest a person for drunk driving. Additionally, even if you are not charged with drunk driving, having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle is a traffic violation and can result in heavy fines.
If you have been charged with a DWI, DUI, or Breath Test Refusal in Atlantic County, NJ, you need a skilled traffic and DWI defense attorney on your side. The experienced DWI attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your charges and maintain your driving privileges. Contact us immediately to schedule a free initial consultation about your case.