Here in the Garden State, cases involving motorists who have been charged with DWI can be prosecuted in several ways. One of the more common approaches used by municipal prosecutors includes charges of driving under the influence based on a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. This type of case involves what is known in legal circles as a “per se” charge. As a well-established legal firm, my colleagues and I have nearly 100 years of collective trial law experience, including drunk driving and drug DUI defense of cases base on per se evidence.
In situations of drivers being charged for operating a motor vehicle while impaired based on a BAC measurement of 0.08 percent or above, those per se DWI charges refer to the legal definition, that is, the driver’s actions were inherently illegal. The New Jersey legal statutes essentially make driving with any BAC over the 0.08-percent limit an unlawful act. The per se aspect essentially says that the circumstances surrounding how or why the driver became intoxicated is not relevant to the prosecution of the offense.
Because per se DWI charges do not require extrinsic proof of any surrounding circumstances, it is much easier to prosecute a driver based solely on measurement of blood-alcohol content than other more subjective evidence, such as results from a roadside sobriety field test, etc. Drunk driving, from a per se standpoint, is essentially a chargeable offense made so by New Jersey statute. This is not exclusive to New Jersey, as many other states also have laws that make driving with a certain level of alcohol in one’s system illegal per se.