What Needs to be Proven for a DWI Conviction in New Jersey?

If you have been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in New Jersey, you are facing the possibility of having your license suspended, paying significant fines, and even serving time in jail. Additionally, the potential penalties for DWI increase with each subsequent offense. With so much on the line, it is crucial to hire a lawyer who is experienced in DWI defense, thoroughly understands the forms of evidence that often come into play in DUI cases, and can advocate on your behalf to get the charges against you dismissed.

What Does the Prosecution Need to Prove for a DWI Conviction?

In New Jersey, DWI cases are not heard by a jury, but rather a municipal court judge. The prosecution must prove each and every element of a DWI offense beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. This includes proving your identity, that you were the driver of the vehicle, that you were actually operating a motor vehicle, that you were driving in the town or city in New Jersey where the court is located, that your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeded the legal limit or your driving ability was negatively impacted by your consumption of drugs or alcohol, and you were impaired while operating the motor vehicle.

What Evidence Is Used to Prove a DWI Offense?

There are many different types of evidence that the prosecution may submit to prove the aforementioned elements of a DWI offense. For example, they may submit the testimony of an eyewitness who saw a motor vehicle accident occur in which you were involved while under the influence of alcohol, or the testimony of a police officer who witnessed you driving erratically before pulling you over and administering a field sobriety test to you.

The prosecution may also submit physical evidence, such as lab results of a urine or blood test. Often, they submit the results of a blood alcohol test, which is taken with the Alcotest 7110 device, New Jersey’s version of a breathalyzer.  Another form of proof that may be used against you in your DWI case is empty bottles or cans of alcohol that were discovered in your vehicle at the time of your arrest.

Can a Lawyer Get My DWI Charge Dismissed?

A good New Jersey DWI defense lawyer will use their years of experience in handling cases like yours to point out the holes and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, while emphasizing the strengths of your defense. In New Jersey, prosecutors are barred from negotiating any pleas or downgrading charges in DWI cases. This means that your case will either result in a conviction or a dismissal. If you are convicted, your sentence must be based on prescribed sentencing guidelines.

When working toward getting your case dismissed, our DWI attorneys examine all of the evidence available in the discovery phase of your case including testimonial evidence, police reports, and physical evidence like blood tests, and we create a customized defense strategy to show how the evidence is insufficient to meet the burden on proof for a DWI conviction. Depending on the circumstances, we will argue that there is either not enough evidence to prove that you committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the evidence was unlawfully or improperly obtained and thus, cannot be used against you.

For instance, if we can cast doubt on the validity of any lab results, the prosecution’s case against you will be weakened and the lab report may be deemed inadmissible. Also, in administering a field sobriety test, a police officer must follow a set procedure. If there is any evidence that the officer deviated from required procedures or otherwise may have violated your rights when administering a field sobriety test, we may be able to have that evidence excluded from the record, so that it cannot be considered or used to convict you. With the complexities of New Jersey DWI laws, each case must be fully investigated to identify the best defense approach.

Need an Attorney for a DWI Charge

If you or a loved one has been arrested and subsequently charged with driving under the influence in New Jersey, you need an attorney who has command of the law in this area and can use it to your advantage. The DWI defense lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law have handled countless DWI cases in Ocean County and New Jersey, including in Lacey Township, Brick, Toms River, Lavallette, Manchester, Stafford Township, and surrounding communities. We have years of experience finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and using that as leverage to get the DWI charges against our clients dismissed. For a free case evaluation and to find out how we can help you, call us today at (848) 238-2100.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.