Is 0.08 Percent BAC THE “Magic Number”? Some New Jersey Motorists Have Been Arrested for Less

We’ve echoed this bit of information numerous times in this venue, but we’ll say it again; it makes little difference whether a driver is arrested or charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in Bergen, Passaic, Hudson or Ocean County, consequences of a DWI or drug DUI conviction are the same anywhere in New Jersey. In fact, here in the Garden State, an arrest (much less a conviction) for drunk driving can have a seriously negative impact on come individual’s personal and professional relationships.

Having said this, it is certainly important to remind everyone that being arrested and charged with DWI or drug DUI is different from being convicted of same. As New Jersey drunken driving defense lawyers, I and my staff of experienced DWI attorneys make it our job to represent those people who have been accused of driving while intoxicated or impaired by prescription medication and even illicit drugs like cocaine and marijuana.

DWI Monetary penalties aside, few people if any welcome a DWI or drug DUI conviction on their record. Given the choice, most people will fight a drunken driving charge; however, there are those who feel it is hardly a difficult task to defend themselves in court. But it is important to add that those who do choose to go it alone take a chance without proper representation.

The fact is, there are occasions where a driver believes he is “in the clear” since his breath test following the arrest measured out at less than the legal limit of 0.08 percent (BAC). Being under the so-called legal limit, that motorist may not think he has little to worry about in court, yet he may find out too late that the local prosecutor’s office still has a legitimate case against him.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, the attorneys at my firm know our state’s drunken driving law better than most laypeople. Because of this, and because we see the law in action on a daily basis in courtrooms across the state, there is no comparison to the representation that a qualified DWI attorney can give and that of a citizen defending themselves with little or no training to back him up.

While the same state laws and statutes apply equally all around the state, being familiar with the various jurisdictions as we are means that we have a better grasp of what occurs in one county versus another.

One suggestion to any motorist who may be facing a DWI charge is to avoid making an already bad situation worse attempting to defend themselves against a well-prepared prosecutor. At the very least, it is a wise choice to consult with a qualified DWI defense attorney and, if they choose, let his or her experience work for them.

Regarding our pervious hypothetical case — that of a person being charged with driving under the influence of beer, wine or hard liquor, yet returning less than a 0.08-percent BAC on the breathalyzer. In instances such as this, our hypothetical driver may be confident that his or her lower BAC reading will translate into an acquittal, but the law can surprise people.

It has likely happened more than once, where a first-time drunken driving arrestee registered, say, a 0.07 percent BAC. While Even though This was the motorist’s first drunk driving arrest, and while there may not have been what we call a “per se” violation of state law, the prosecution could argue to the court that the driver’s actions during the standardized field sobriety tests indicated that the defendant was drunk at the time of the arrest.

It sounds like opinion over science, but cases have been ruled in favor of the state when a layperson surely thought he could win an acquittal. For an individual representing himself alone in court, the chances of being convicted based on evidence other than the breathalyzer results could be rather high.