If you were recently arrested for a first-time DWI in Morristown or elsewhere in the state, it is critical to make sure you have a clear understanding of your situation. New Jersey law imposes steep penalties for drunk driving, and simple mistakes could have a substantial impact on your ability to present an effective defense. This discussion of FAQs with Morristown defense attorney Scott Gorman provide an introduction to some of the key information you need to know:
First-Time DWI FAQs with Defense Attorney Scott Gorman
Q: Is DWI a criminal offense?
No. In New Jersey, DWI is a traffic offense. While this may sound like good news, it actually means that you are deprived of certain rights (such as the right to a jury trial), and a DWI conviction will still go on your permanent record.
Q: What are the penalties for a first-time DWI in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, the penalties for a “standard” first-time DWI (with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or 0.09 percent) include:
- $250-$400 fine
- $350 in additional fees
- $1,000/year surcharge for three years
- Three-month driver’s license suspension
- Up to 30 days in jail
- 12 to 48 hours of mandatory alcohol education at a cost of $230 per day
If your BAC was 0.10 percent or above, the maximum fine increases to $300 and your license can be suspended for seven to twelve months. If your BAC was 0.15 percent or greater, you will also be required to install ignition interlock devices in your vehicles (at your expense) for six to twelve months after your driving privileges are restored.
Q: Was I required to take the breathalyzer test?
Yes, if the officer had reasonable grounds to suspect that you had driven while intoxicated. However, if the arresting officer failed to inform you of certain rights or the penalties for refusing to take the test, this could potentially provide a defense to your DUI refusal.
Q: Was I required to take the field sobriety tests?
No. Unlike the breathalyzer, in New Jersey, you are not obligated to submit to field sobriety tests (FSTs) during a drunk driving traffic stop.
Q: What are some potential defenses to DWI charges?
If you have been charged with DWI, the good news is that there are several potential defenses under New Jersey law and the U.S. Constitution. From a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights to faulty breath testing procedures, understanding the defenses available in your case will require a detailed understanding of the unique facts and circumstances involved.
Q: Will getting convicted of DWI affect my commercial driver’s license (CDL)?
Yes. If you are convicted of a first-time DWI, your CDL will be suspended for a year. A second DWI conviction can result in permanent revocation.
Q: If I get convicted, how long will my DWI stay on my record?
A DWI conviction stays on your record permanently, unless you have grounds to challenge the outcome of your case. Unlike criminal convictions, DWI convictions cannot be expunged in New Jersey. For purposes of the enhanced penalties for second or third DWI offense, the most recent conviction remains relevant for 10 years.
Arrested for DWI in Morristown? Call or Click for a Free Consultation
For more information about protecting yourself after a DWI arrest in Morristown, New Jersey (or elsewhere in the state), we encourage you to schedule a free and confidential consultation. To speak with defense attorney Scott Gorman about your case, please call (201) 489-9199 or inquire online today.