To be charged with a DWI in New Jersey, the motorist must have been driving his or her vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquors or drugs (legal or illegal). In order to be charged and convicted with a DWI, the officer must believe and testify that the individual was intoxicated. At trial, the officer could testify that the individual was staggering, had slurred speech, glassy eyes, or fumbled while producing documentation. He could also testify to any number of other psycho-physical indicators of intoxication or impairment. It is important to note that an individual can be charged with a first tier, first offense, DWI without a BAC reading or a BAC reading below the statutory limit of 0.08%. However, if an Alcotest® reading is properly obtained, any reading above 0.08% will result in a per se DWI violation.
A DWI can happen in many ways. Under NJ law, you are driving under the influence if you get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated by anything from cold syrup to grain alcohol. If it increases your blood alcohol content (BAC), or if it adversely affects your driving, you will be tested with a flawed but accepted instrument which will provide two readings of air from your lungs. If the officer follows all necessary protocol and the State can provide all required foundational documents, the BAC readings will be factored into the evidence against you. If the officer believes you were operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, a blood test may be ordered in addition to a breath test. Things get more complicated if the offense is not your first.
Penalties for a first offense can include: (1) forfeiture of license for up to 1 year, (2) a fine of $500.00 plus other administrative fees and penalties, (3) up to 30 days in jail, (4) participation and fulfillment of the fees and requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) and (5) at the courts discretion (but becomes mandatory if BAC is over 0.15%) the installation of an ignition interlock device.
For a second DWI or DUI offense, the intoxicated motorist could face: (1) fines of up to $1,000.00, (2) up to 90 days in jail, (3) forfeiture of license for up to two years, (4) participation and fulfillment of the fees and requirements of the IDRC and (5) mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. If convicted for a third or subsequent offense, the offender could (1) lose their license for up to 10 years, (2) spend no less than 180 days in jail, (3) face a fine of up to $1,000.00, (4) participation and fulfillment of the fees and requirements of the IDRC and (5) be forced to install an ignition interlock device in their motor vehicle. If you refuse to submit to either a breath test or a blood test, you could be charged with breath test refusal and face similar penalties.
In 2010, Brick Township saw 313 Drunk Driving, DWI, DUI, and refusal charges written by police officers. Partner, Carmine R. Villani has been trained by manufacturer, Draeger Safety Diagnostics, to operate the Alcotest® 7110 MKIII-C breath test machine. Mr. Villani is one of a very few number of New Jersey criminal defense attorneys trained by Draeger to operate the machine and to perform a New Jersey specific breath test. Proper functioning of the device must be questioned if it is the reason you are being charged with a DWI. Currently, the Alcotest® is the only machine used by the Brick Township Police Department and law enforcement officials all throughout New Jersey.