Legal Limit Not Always Required to Prove New Jersey DWI

drunk driving

A DWI charge can have serious consequences for many aspects of your life, including your job, housing, and reputation. If you have been charged with a DWI, you need a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney to protect your rights. Time is of the essence, so it is important to act quickly. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Under New Jersey law, driving while intoxicated (DWI) consists of a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater operating a motor vehicle. An individual who holds a commercial driver’s license is held to a much higher standard as a professional driver. These drivers will be driving while intoxicated if their BAC is 0.04 percent or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 will be considered to be legally impaired if their BAC is 0.02 percent or higher.

It is important to note that New Jersey law permits prosecutors to establish a DWI charge in many different ways. Typically, the strongest evidence comes in the form of BAC, which is discovered through a breath, blood, or urine test. However, prosecutors can also submit witness testimony, specifically testimony by an arresting officer and any other individuals who saw or interacted with the defendant at the time of the arrest. The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that no precise expertise is needed to develop an opinion that an individual is drunk based on observations of that individual.

In State v. Colabella, the arresting officer pulled the defendant over for an illegal turn and an expired inspection sticker. The officer gave testimony that he noticed a powerful smell of alcohol emanating from the vehicle, that the defendant had bloodshot and watery eyes, and that the defendant had slow and slurred speech. The defendant claimed he had consumed one beer and some ibuprofen. Furthermore, when asked to get out of the car, the defendant staggered out of the car and needed help to not fall down. The defendant was then subjected to a breath test, which revealed that his BAC was 0.06 percent. According to an expert at trial, the defendant’s BAC was in line with more than one alcoholic drink, contrary to his earlier statement.

The municipal court judge in the case convicted the defendant of DWI, explaining that the police and expert testimony were enough evidence for a conviction. On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision. The court held that officer testimony was ample evidence to overcome the deficiency of the BAC evidence.

DWI charges should never be taken lightly. Being convicted of a DWI is a serious offense and carries heavy penalties, including fines and fees, license suspension, ignition interlock device installation, jail time, and even community service. If you have been charged with a DWI, you need to reach out to a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney who can assess the merits of your case. We understand the serious and long-term impact these charges can have on your life, which is why we will advocate for your rights at every step of the way. For more information, feel free to call us at 877-450-8301 or contact us online.

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