DWI in New Jersey School Zones

school zoneWhile all instances of driving while intoxicated (DWI) are taken seriously in New Jersey, certain factors can make a DWI offense worse. One of these factors is driving in a school zone under the influence of alcohol. If you or someone close to you has been arrested for a DWI in a school zone, it is imperative to consult a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney who can protect your rights. We understand that dealing with drunk driving charges can be extremely stressful, which is why we will keep you informed about the status of your case throughout the entire process.

In New Jersey, a person is deemed to be driving under the influence of alcohol if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. The BAC limit for drivers under the age of 21 is 0.02 percent. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 percent.

An individual can be charged with a DWI or refusal to submit to chemical breath testing if the individual got behind the wheel in a school zone when the offense occurred. It is important to note that you can be found guilty of a DWI in a school zone even if officers outside a school zone stop your vehicle. The prosecution only needs to prove you were driving in a school zone, irrespective of where the stop took place.

Under New Jersey law, a “school zone” is any school property used for school purposes, which is owned by or rented to any school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school grounds. DWI laws apply to the following:  a school crossing that is designated by the municipality through an ordinance or resolution as a school crossing; or a school crossing where an individual knows that juveniles are present, even if the municipality has not specifically categorized the school crossing as such by ordinance or resolution. Even if you are not aware that you are on a school property or that juveniles are present, you may be charged with a DWI in a school zone.

The consequences for DWI in a school zone will vary depending on whether it is a first-time offense or a repeat offense. The penalties for DWI in a school zone typically double when compared to those imposed on those convicted of ordinary drunk driving charges. For a first offense, an individual can be fined between $500 and $800, be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail, and receive a driver’s license suspension for at least one year but less than two full years. The penalties for second, third, and subsequent offenses are harsher.

DWIs in a school zone are an extremely serious offense. If you have been arrested for a DWI while driving in a school zone, you need a seasoned New Jersey DWI attorney on your side. The stakes are high, and the consequences in these cases can be very severe. At our firm, we are dedicated to protecting your rights at every step of the way. We will analyze all possible avenues and determine a strong defense for your case. To schedule a consultation, do not hesitate to call us at 877-450-8301 or reach out to us online.

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