Are You Facing DWI / DUI Charges?
Every day, good people make mistakes when they get behind the wheel after having more to drink than they realized. That mistake can cost them in many different ways. In New Jersey, you could face driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more or for driving with drugs in your system. If you are arrested for DWI, you need a lawyer who will stand by your side and fight for you.
The team at The Law Office of Blair R. Zwillman is here to help. Our attorney has more than 45 years of legal experience. He has the knowledge and skills to minimize the impact your arrest could have on your life. He works one-on-one with every criminal defense client to provide them with the attention and guidance they deserve.
What Penalties Could You Face?
In 2019, New Jersey revised its DWI penalties to shift toward more ignition interlock devices (IIDs) rather than driver’s license suspensions. Penalties for a first offense generally include an IID for three months, but do not require a license suspension. You may also face up to 30 days in jail and up to $400 in fines.
If your BAC is .10% or more, however, the penalties can go up and the court may add a license suspension for a BAC over .15%. Penalties for subsequent offenses also go up with each offense.
You may wonder what the difference is between DWI and DUI. In New Jersey, there is not much difference and people often use the terms interchangeably. The statute references DWI, which now covers both intoxication by alcohol and drugs. Driving under the influence (DUI) involves intoxication by drugs.
Building Your Defense
I will always work toward a dismissal of your charges by presenting a defense based on either equipment or procedural error. In building your defense, I will examine:
- Whether police had “reasonable suspicion” that you were violating the law when they pulled you over.
- Whether the police followed the strict guidelines for requesting and administering sobriety tests.
- If the Breathalyzer machine was properly calibrated and used by a properly trained officer.
- If the police followed proper procedure during the arrest.
- Whether the police properly stored all chemical samples and evidence.
Even if your breath test shows your BAC as over the limit, you still have many defenses available to you. I know how to argue for reduced or dismissed charges.
What Should You Do During A Traffic Stop?
Too often, people do not know their rights when pulled over by the police. If an officer pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving, here are a few tips:
- Stay in your car – Unless an officer instructs you to get out of your car, stay inside and remain calm.
- Stay calm – Although you may feel nervous, try to relax. An officer could interpret nervousness as a sign of intoxication. Be polite when answering questions.
- Refuse a search of your car – Unless the officer has a warrant or has probable cause to arrest you, they do not have the right to search your car.
- Take the breath test – In New Jersey, you must take a chemical test or face a charge for refusal. You can challenge the results later.
- Have your own blood test done – You may be able to use a separate blood test taken right after your arrest in your defense.
No matter what happens, try not to panic. Remember that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. I am on your side and will help you fight the charges.