Former State Prosecutor

Former Atlantic County Prosecutor

Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

Experienced for over 30 years

Available 24/7


Former Prosecutor

Now Fighting for You

New Jersey Criminal Defense and DWI attorney
who knows how to navigate the local courts



New Jersey Criminal Defense and DWI attorney who
knows how to navigate the local courts.



Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found “not guilty” of all charges.

Former State Prosecutor

Former Atlantic County Prosecutor

Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

Experienced for Over 30 years

Other areas we serve

Experienced DWI Lawyer Provides Answers to New Jersey DWI Frequently Asked Questions

If you have been charged with a DUI in the State of New Jersey, you face significant penalties. That’s why it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable DUI defense lawyer at your earliest convenience. Get the facts about New Jersey DWI violations and penalties from a former prosecutor who now represents clients charged with drunk driving in Atlantic and Cape May counties and throughout South Jersey.

John Tumelty, founding partner of the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty, is an experienced Atlantic City DWI defense lawyer who understands that a DWI charge can happen to anyone. Mr. Tumelty has successfully defended countless clients facing DWI charges and he can protect your interests and rights, too.

What are Some of the Most Frequently Asked Questions about NJ DWI Violations and Penalties?

Q: What is the legal limit for blood alcohol content in New Jersey?
A: NJ law dictates that a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) cannot exceed .08 percent while driving.

Q: Should I refuse the field sobriety test?
A: Yes. You are not required to perform field sobriety tests during a DWI investigation. These tests are highly subjective and typically produce incriminating evidence.

Q: Do I have to submit to blood & urine testing?
A: No. You are not required to provide a blood or urine sample for a DWI investigation for alcohol or drugs. Police are required to obtain a search warrant for a blood sample which must be based on probable cause.

Q: Should I refuse to submit to a breath test?
A: No. The breath test is mandatory, which means that refusal will result in breath test refusal charges that are very difficult to challenge in court. If you are convicted of refusal, you will almost certainly lose your driver’s license.

Q: What is an Alcotest?
A: The Alcotest, sometimes called a Breathalyzer, is the device used by all law enforcement in New Jersey to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC).

Q: Can I represent myself at my own DWI trial?
A: It is possible to represent yourself in court, but this is not advisable. An experienced DWI defense lawyer will know how to attack the prosecution’s case and challenge the evidence against you in order to minimize the likelihood of conviction.

Q: Is DWI a criminal violation?
A: No. DWI is not a criminal offense in New Jersey. However, a DWI conviction can still result in significant penalties, including jail time and loss of your driver’s license.

Q: What are the sentences for a DWI conviction in New Jersey?
A: The penalties for a DWI conviction vary, depending upon the number of prior offenses.
• For a first offense, you could be sentenced to 30 days in county jail and lose your license for up to one year.
• A second offense can result in a jail sentence of 90 days and loss of license for two years.
• A third offense is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and loss of your driver’s license for 10 years.
• Additionally, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than .10 percent, you face enhanced penalties regardless of the number of prior offenses.

Q: Is it possible to avoid jail time if I am convicted of a DWI?
A: Yes. With the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney, you are likely to enhance your chances of getting the charges dismissed or downgraded.

Q: Did the police have a right to stop my car?
A: Maybe. The police must have reasonable suspicion in order to initiate a traffic stop. If the police officer did not have a legal right to pull over your vehicle, any evidence they obtained after the fact may be inadmissible in court.

Q: What are the financial costs of a DWI conviction in New Jersey?
A: If you are convicted of drunk driving, you face a host of fines, fees, and surcharges, ranging from $3,700 to $6,100. The total amount varies, depending upon the number of prior DWI convictions on your record.

Q: Will I lose my auto insurance?
A: You could lose your insurance coverage if your insurance provider determines that you are a high-risk driver. At a minimum, your insurance premium costs are likely to rise dramatically.

Q: If my driver’s license is suspended for a DWI violation, can I get a hardship/provisional driver’s license?
A: No. Once your license is suspended for a DWI, you are not able to drive legally in the state until your license is fully restored.

Q: Will I be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device?
A: The ignition interlock penalty is not required for a first offender unless your blood alcohol level is a .15 percent or higher. The interlock is mandatory for all second, third or subsequent offenses.

Q: If I have an out-of-state DUI conviction, will it count in New Jersey as a prior offense?
A: New Jersey has interstate agreements with other states. This means that licensed NJ drivers are required to abide by NJ driving laws and can have their NJ license suspended if they are convicted of a DUI in a different state.

Q: What are the penalties for a commercial driver DWI?
A: Commercially licensed drivers in New Jersey are held to a higher standard than other drivers and face enhanced penalties for drunk driving violations.

Q: Can an expert witness help my defense?
A: Yes. An expert witness can potentially evaluate the evidence in your case and provide forensic analysis that counters the prosecution’s theories.

Contact a Knowledgeable DUI Defense Lawyer with Offices in South Jersey

John W. Tumelty is a former prosecutor and current criminal and DWI defense attorney with 30 years of experience handling DWI cases. Mr. Tumelty has represented countless clients in DWI matters throughout South Jersey, so he understands the ramifications of a conviction and knows how to challenge your charges in court. Call or email him today to schedule a free consultation at one of his offices in Somers Point and Marmora.

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Atlantic County Office

Areas We Serve

Atlantic County Office

Seasoned criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty has three conveniently located offices in Atlantic City, Somers Point and Marmora, NJ. He serves clients in Atlantic, Ocean, Gloucester and Cape May counties and the Jersey Shore, including: Absecon, Atlantic City, Avalon, Cape May, Dennis Township, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Hammonton, Linwood, Lower Township, Margate, Middle Township, Northfield, Ocean City, Pleasantville, Sea Isle City, Somers Point, Stone Harbor, Upper Township, Ventnor and Wildwood.