In New Jersey, a driving while intoxicated (DWI) violation carries harsh penalties on its own. You could face a period of detainment and hefty fines depending on the nature of your offense. If you get into a car accident that results in bodily injuries and the arresting officer suspects you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving, the consequences can be much more severe. It would not only be a traffic violation but, instead, an indictable crime or felony-level criminal charge.
However, it is not the end of the world. You have a right to defend yourself against any charges by questioning the evidence and facts surrounding the case.
You were not under the influence
If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove you were under the influence while operating the vehicle, then they cannot push through with the DWI charges. The problem is that it does not discount the fact that the accident caused injuries. The prosecution may charge you with assault by auto because you were driving recklessly. Assault involving motor vehicles is one of the most serious assault charges in New Jersey.
You did not cause the accident
The fact that you were driving while drinking or intoxicated does not immediately establish that you caused the accident. Therefore, you may be able to prove you did not cause it by using evidence from the crash. You should be careful not to admit to DWI charges, nonetheless, because intent is not a component of assault by auto charges. It would be enough to charge you for assault based on reckless driving.
Constitutional rights violations
Before any criminal conviction can occur, the court will need to review the evidence the prosecution has against the defendant. If the police or prosecutors obtained the evidence by violating your constitutional rights, they cannot use it against you in court.
Accidents happen at the most inopportune moments, but you cannot allow them to determine your fate without knowing all the facts.