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NJ DUI Lawyer Explains New Jersey Drunk Driving Laws

February 10, 2015

NJ DUI Lawyer Explains New Jersey Drunk Driving Laws

Driving under the Influence (DUI) in New Jersey is punishable by fines, loss of license, or jail time.  Penalties for DUI in New Jersey are comparable to penalties for DWI and drunk driving in other states; however, there are some fundamental differences between New Jersey drunk driving laws and those of most other states.

In New Jersey if someone operating a motor vehicle has a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, he or she will be charged with DUI.  If his or her BAC is .10 or higher, he or she will face greater penalties.  Although .08 is referred to as the legal limit for the level of alcohol while driving, the reality is that drivers can be arrested for and convicted of DUI even if their BAC is lower than .08.  In these cases the arresting officer makes a subjective determination on whether or not alcohol has impaired driving abilities.  New Jersey DUI law states that a person can be charged with DUI if he or she has any alcohol in his or her system, regardless of how low the BAC may be.

A driver can be pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving even if he or she has not violated any traffic laws.  Police officers often suspect an impaired driver when they see someone driving under the speed limit, drifting in and out of a lane, or mistakenly using headlights and signaling lights.  Once a driver has been pulled over, the officer will observe him or her to determine whether or not he or she is intoxicated.

They may conduct a field sobriety test consisting of various exercises designed to challenge motor skills and mental ability.  If a police officer observes any sign that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, the driver will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test to determine the amount of alcohol in his or her blood and whether or not the BAC exceeds the legal limit. If the breathalyzer test result is .08 or higher, the driver will be charged with a per se DUI.  Because the legal limit has been exceeded, the police officer needs no further evidence to arrest the driver for DUI. In New Jersey refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test can result in fines, loss of license, or installation of a mandatory ignition interlock device.

What sets New Jersey apart from most other states is the way that DUI cases are prosecuted.  In New Jersey a DUI charge constitutes a traffic violation, not a criminal offense.  A driver cannot be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor for driving under the influence in New Jersey.  A person charged with DUI in New Jersey will not be tried in front of a jury.  A judge will hear the case, make a ruling, and determine the penalties.  It is not possible to make a plea bargain in New Jersey DUI cases.

New Jersey Criminal Attorney Michele Finizio Advocates for Those Charged with DUI Offenses in NJ

If you have been charged with DUI in New Jersey, you need a knowledgeable and experienced traffic and municipal court lawyer to represent you before the judge.  Michele Finizio understands the devastating effect a DUI charge can have on your future and will fight to defend you against these charges.  The Law Offices of Michele Finizio are located in Moorestown, New Jersey and serve all of South Jersey including Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.  Call our New Jersey Criminal and Traffic Court Lawyers at 856-888-9059 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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