Ocean County, New Jersey is known for its beaches and nightlife, as well as its heavily patrolled roadways, where drivers are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) on a regular basis. In fact, police use a variety of enforcement tactics to identify potential DUI offenders, including sobriety checkpoints, which are held at predetermined locations and require drivers to stop regardless of whether or not they have actually committed a traffic violation. While DWI checkpoints are more common in the summer months, law enforcement officials patrol Ocean County all year long to find people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, where are you most likely to get arrested for DWI in Ocean County? The State recently released a report outlining the number of DWI arrests in each town in New Jersey between July 2016 and June 2017. The town that dominated Ocean County was Toms River, where 368 DWI charges were issued during a one-year period. Toms River is continually a top town for DWI arrests in Ocean County, issuing 398 charges for drunk driving the year before. In this article, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) that our Ocean County DWI defense lawyers receive from clients charged with DUI in Toms River.
What is a DUI Considered in NJ?
In New Jersey, driving under the influence N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, is technically a motor vehicle violation, not a criminal offense. This means that if you are convicted, the DWI conviction will appear on your driver’s abstract with the Division of Motor Vehicles. Although DWI is classified as a traffic offense, the penalties for DUI rival those of many criminal charges. For instance, if you are convicted of drunk driving in New Jersey, you may face jail time, a period of driver’s license suspension, heavy fines, motor vehicle surcharges, mandatory attendance at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), community service, and an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
What is the Legal Limit for DWI in New Jersey?
For a person over the age of 21 (legal drinking age) to be convicted of driving while intoxicated in New Jersey, they must have operated a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Notably, if you are under the age of 21 in New Jersey, you can be charged with underage DWI for driving with any amount of alcohol in your system. Also, if you are a commercial driver, your blood alcohol level need only be 0.04% to face DWI charges.
Can You Negotiate for Lesser Penalties in a DWI Case?
The short answer: no. New Jersey does not allow prosecutors to offer plea bargains to DWI defendants, meaning every person charged with DWI is facing the same penalties and the only way to avoid them is to have the charges dismissed entirely.
How is a DWI Court Case Handled?
DWI cases are adjudicated in the local municipal court in the municipality where the charges were issued. So, if you are charged with DWI in Toms River, your case will be heard in Toms River Municipal Court. As a person charged with drunk driving, you are not entitled to a trial by jury. Instead, your case is decided by a single municipal court judge. It is highly advisable to hire a DWI defense lawyer who regularly appears in the court where your case is being handled, as he or she is likely familiar with the prosecutors, judge, and court personnel who operate within the court.
Proving a DWI in New Jersey
In order to show that you were, in fact, driving while intoxicated in a New Jersey DWI case, the State will typically use one or both of the following: the results of the Alcotest reading and/or field sobriety tests conducted at the scene. The Alcotest 7110 is the breathalyzer device that law enforcement officials use to assess your blood alcohol concentration, and the results of these tests are used in the vast majority of NJ DWI cases. The other method that officers use is field sobriety tests, the most common of which include: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, the Walk and Turn Test, and the The One-Leg Stand Test.
How Can you Win a DWI Case in NJ?
There are numerous potential defenses that can be used to beat a DWI in New Jersey. Available defense strategies involve factors ranging from the validity of the initial motor vehicle stop, to the results of the Alcotest, or police procedure during the stop and the arrest that followed. In fact, our firm’s founder William Proetta is often able to successfully argue for DWI dismissals because of his unique credentials related to New Jersey DWI. For instance, Mr. Proetta was trained by Hansueli Ryser, the inventor of Draeger Safety Diagnostics Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C Version NJ3.11. As a result, he is certified to operate the Alcotest and to perform the specific New Jersey DWI breath test sequence. He is also trained on the Alcotest 7110’s analytical system, components and peripherals. Additionally, Mr. Proetta is among 20 lawyers in the state who are certified by the National Transportation Safety Administration in proper administration and evaluation of standardized field sobriety tests. He is also among approximately 5 attorneys in New Jersey recognized as a DUI Detection and Standard Field Sobriety Testing Instructor.
Arrested for DWI in Toms River?
When our firm takes a DWI case, we analyze every facet in order to identify errors, weaknesses, and potential grounds for a dismissal. With our extensive knowledge of police procedure and the individual tests used to prove drunk driving, we are often able to have evidence deemed inadmissible and in turn, to have DWI charges dismissed entirely. If you were arrested for DWI in Toms River or elsewhere in Ocean County, contact our offices anytime at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation with a Toms River DWI defense lawyer who can answer all of your questions and discuss potential ways to beat your DUI case.
For additional information regarding DWI arrest rates in New Jersey towns, visit the following page: These 21 towns issued the most DWIs in their counties