Having champagne or other alcoholic beverages on New Year’s Eve is a tradition that stretches back decades. But if you do plan to indulge in alcohol on New Year’s Eve, you should also make plans to avoid getting behind the wheel until you’ve sobered up; this may mean having a designated driver, taking public transit, calling a cab or Uber or Lyft, or spending the night wherever you may be celebrating the holiday. Driving while intoxicated can subject you to serious criminal penalties.
Penalties for a DWI
In New Jersey, even a first-time DUI conviction when your blood alcohol content is between .08 percent and .10 percent can have consequences such as:
- Three months’ suspension of your driving privileges
- Between 12 hours and 30 days of jail time
- Between $250 and $400 in fines
- A $1,000 annual insurance surcharge for three years
- Mandatory classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
Second and third and subsequent DWI offenses, when committed within a 10-year period, carry even lengthier jail terms and driver’s license suspension and more expensive fines. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock on your vehicles, which you must blow into every time you want to start your car; if the device detects alcohol on your breath, the vehicle will not start.
You Can Get Convicted Even If You Don’t Feel Drunk
In New Jersey, you are considered unlawfully drunk if your blood alcohol content is .08 percent or higher; if you are under the age of 21, the limit is .01 percent. However, under New Jersey law, you can still be convicted of DWI even if your BAC is under .08 percent, if there is evidence (usually observation by a police officer) that your intoxication still renders you unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Police Increase Surveillance During the New Year’s Holiday
Because many people choose to celebrate New Year’s Eve with alcohol, law enforcement departments will often increase the number of officers on patrol throughout the evening and night, and may even run DUI checkpoints around areas where people tend to congregate for New Year’s Eve parties.
Of course, any officer can stop a vehicle for any traffic violation, such as speeding, failing to signal, or running a stop sign. Once you are stopped, the officer may decide to investigate you for DUI if you show signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech or bloodshot eyes.
What to Do If You’re Arrested for DWI
If you do get arrested for DWI on New Year’s Eve, you should contact a DWI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced DWI defense lawyer will be extremely familiar with the DWI laws in New Jersey and with the possible defenses that can be used in your case, including challenging the legality of your traffic stop or challenging the admissibility of your breathalyzer or blood alcohol test results. A DWI conviction, in addition to jail time and fines, can have long-lasting consequences on your ability to secure employment or to obtain auto insurance to lawfully operate a vehicle, or on your professional and personal relationships.
Read more: Can You Get a DUI From Prescription Drugs?
Contact an Experienced Moorestown DWI Defense Attorney About Your Drunk Driving Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a DWI or DUI offense in New Jersey? A drunk driving conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified DWI defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Law Offices of Michele Finizio represent clients charged with drunk driving, breath test refusal, and related offenses in Medford, Burlington Township, Camden, Gloucester Township, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 9 E. Main St., Moorestown, NJ 08057, in addition to offices located in Cherry Hill.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.