How Is DWI Defined Under New Jersey State Law?
There are two types of DWI; one involves alcohol and one involves other intoxicating substances, like illegal drugs or prescription drugs. There are two different limits in New Jersey. One is a 0.8 blood alcohol level and the higher tier would be a 0.10 blood alcohol level. Based on the one you fall under, there are different penalties. When it comes to drugs, there is just one level and that is based on the officer’s observations. You would automatically get the higher tier penalty for being under the influence of drugs.
What Happens After Someone Is Pulled Over On Suspicion Of Being DWI In New Jersey?
If you were arrested on suspicion of DWI, the officer would come upon some kind of suspicious behavior. The way you are driving led him to believe that you might be under the influence of some substance. After he pulls you over, usually, he will say that he smells alcohol. He will also observe how you are responding to questions and your behavior in general. At that point, he’ll usually ask you if you’ve been drinking or if you’ve taken anything. A lot of people make the mistake of admitting that they have had a couple of drinks or took some kind of drug.
They will ask you to get out of the car and there are some standard sobriety tests that they will give you. They are tests approved by the Department of Safety to give them basis to arrest you. If they believe you are intoxicated, they’ll arrest you and take you to the police station. They will either take a Breathalyzer test, if they believe it is alcohol, or call a drug recognition expert, which is a police officer who is specially trained to recognize what substance you may be on. If you do not do well on the test, then that results in the charge against you.
What Happens If Someone Has Refused A Breath Or Blood Test?
The police have to have a reason to ask you to take a breath or blood test. They can’t just test everyone who is pulled over for a motor vehicle violation. There has to be some reasonable suspicion that you’re under the influence of something. They may smell alcohol. They may get an admission. They have to have some reason to ask you to take the test. If you refuse, that can result in a separate charge. The standard for that is that some grounds to arrest you has to be established. Once they are established, you have a duty to take the test.
Every motor vehicle licensee has given implied consent to take a Breathalyzer test, if those standards are met and they have grounds to arrest you. If you don’t take the test, there’s something they read to you which says that you have no grounds to say no. If you do say no, it’s going to result in a separate charge. They will reiterate to you that you still have to take the test and if you still say no, then they could charge you with a refusal to take the blood alcohol test. This separate charge carries the same underlying DWI penalty. A refusal is kind of an inference that you’re guilty of the underlying offense and you lose most defenses to the underlying charge because your refusal to take the test is a presumption that you’re intoxicated.
What Are The Penalties Associated With DWI Convictions In New Jersey?
The penalties for a first DWI on a lower tier, 0.8 violation is a three-month loss of license and a fine. The higher violation, which is 0.10, is penalized with a seven month loss of license and a fine. In order to get your license back, you have to take a class in the intoxicated resource center. On a second offense, the penalty is always a two-year loss of license and two to 90 days in jail. They give you two days, usually, one of which you serve in the intoxicated resource center for treatment to get your license back. On a third offense, you lose your license for 10 years and you have to serve 180 days in jail. You could serve 90 days of that in an inpatient rehab center and not jail, but you have to spend one hundred days confined in some way. When it comes to drugs, all these are the same, except for the first offense on drugs is always the higher tier.
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