Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offense in New Jersey and can have serious consequences for your future. If you or someone close to you is facing a DWI charge, it is important to reach out to a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney without delay. It is understandable that you may feel frustrated and confused, but you can rest assured that we will help you understand your rights and advocate for you at every step of the way.
In New Jersey, a person drives while intoxicated if he or she gets behind the wheel with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Individuals under the age of 21 will be charged with a DWI with a BAC of 0.02 percent. For commercial drivers, the legal limit is 0.04 percent or higher.
In every DWI case, the burden of proof is on the government to prove the elements of a DWI “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest burden of proof in the criminal justice system, and it is deliberately high because an individual’s freedom is often at stake. The state also bears the burden to show any prior offenses. If the prosecutor establishes a DWI charge beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant will be found guilty.
In New Jersey, any person convicted of an alcohol-related traffic offense must partake in a program at the Intoxicated Driving Resource Center (IDRC). New Jersey has an IDRC in each county for first- and third-time offenders, as well as three regional centers for second-time offenders.
For a first offense, the defendant must complete alcohol awareness classes for 12 to 48 hours. For a second offense, you must pay for and attend 48 hours of alcohol awareness classes, typically carried out at a weekend facility. For a third offense, you may face detainment for up to 90 days in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program. If you are convicted of a DWI, and you are underage, namely under the age of 21, you may have different IDRC requirements.
The IDRC requires defendants to comply with screening, evaluation, referral programs, and the costs of the program for the following:
- The Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse’s Intoxicated Driving Program Unit;
- The IDRC; and
- The Alcohol and Highway Safety Education courses.
If you do not meet the minimum benchmark in any of these areas, you can be required to take additional classes or counseling, which may involve additional fees. If you fail to comply with IDRC classes or counseling requirements, you will be subjected to a two-day mandatory jail sentence, which is to be served at the county jail. In addition, you may face a loss of driving privileges until you are in compliance with the IDRC requirements.
A DWI charge is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DWI, you need to speak to an experienced New Jersey drunk driving lawyer who understands this area of law. With years of experience, we know how to protect your rights. For more information, call us at 877-450-8301 or reach out to us online.
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