New Jersey DWI Lawyers | DUI Attorneys

New Jersey DWI/Drunk Driving Defense Lawyers

person drinking and driving

New Jersey laws regarding drunk driving — driving while intoxicated, impaired or under the influence — are among the strictest in the nation, including a ban on DWI plea bargaining for a lower charge. A first conviction guarantees you hundreds of dollars in fines, up to 30 days in jail, loss of driving privileges for 90 days, and additional, lasting financial consequences.

A DWI conviction also remains on your record for prospective employers, loan officers, college officials and others to find in background checks.

It is absolutely crucial to have an experienced N.J. DWI defense attorney represent you if you have been charged with drunk driving in New Jersey. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can provide the legal knowledge and experience required to defend you against DWI charges and seek the best possible results in your case.

Our team of former N.J. prosecutors and public defenders provides credentials for a drunk driving defense that are not found at other New Jersey law firms, including:

  • 5 attorneys certified to operate and maintain the Draeger Alcotest 7110 MKIIIC alcohol breath test instrument, New Jersey’s official breath test machine.
  • A New Jersey version of the Draeger Alcotest breath test machine owned by the firm for use in preparing cases.
  • 5 lawyers certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), the only way to prove a DWI if and/or when scientific evidence like breath readings or blood tests are eliminated.
  • 3 defense attorneys who are instructors in administration of the SFST.
  • 100 years of combined experience defending New Jersey drivers charged with driving while intoxicated and related offenses.

We have selectively created one of the largest and most experienced legal defense teams in New Jersey at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. We have the qualifications, training and resources needed to devote the time and energy into developing a DWI defense for you.

Call or fill out our online form now to set up a free initial consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey DWI attorneys about avoiding a drunk driving conviction.

What Is a DWI Offense in New Jersey?

New Jersey’s courts have defined “intoxication” or “being under the influence” as a “substantial deterioration or diminution of the mental faculties or physical capabilities of a person” resulting from ingestion of alcohol or drugs.

It is illegal in New Jersey, as in every U.S. state, to drive with a blood alcohol content at or above 0.08 percent. A person younger than 21 years old—the legal drinking age—can be found guilty of DWI with any detectible amount of alcohol in their blood while behind the wheel of a car.

Intoxication from alcohol is typically established “per se” (latin for “in itself”) through breath or blood tests. However, if you consume any amount of alcohol and police think your driving is negatively affected, you can be arrested and potentially convicted of drunk driving.

It is also a violation for a person to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug. When an impaired driving offense is based on use of drugs, it is commonly referred to as driving under the influence of drugs (DUI).

Penalties for violation of New Jersey drunk driving laws are severe and grow harsher with additional offenses, including:

DUI / DWI First Offense

With a BAC of 0.08 to 0.09 percent:

  • Fine of $250-$400
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • 90-day driver’s license suspension

  • Two 6-hour classes at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center over two consecutive days

With a BAC of 0.10 percent or more:

  • Fine of $300-$500
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • 7- to 12-month driver’s license suspension

  • Two 6-hour classes at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center over two consecutive days
  • Annual surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years

Second Offense

  • Fine of $500-$1,000
  • 2 to 90 days in jail
  • 2-year driver’s license suspension
  • 48 consecutive hours detainment in a regional Intoxicated Driver Resource Center

  • Annual surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 1 to 3 years after license restoration

Third Offense

  • $1,000 fine
  • 180 days in jail
  • 10-year driver’s license suspension
  • Detainment in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program

  • Fee paid to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center as decided by the court
  • Annual surcharge penalty of $1,000 for 3 years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for 1 to 3 years after license restoration

Any DWI / DUI conviction also requires:

  • A Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge of $100
  • A Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee of $100
  • An Intoxicated Driving Program fee of $100

  • A Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee of $50
  • A Safe and Secure Community Program fee of $75

A judge may also order the revocation of the defendant’s vehicle registration.

Penalties increase if a DWI / DUI occurred in a school zone or school crossing.

And, a parent or guardian convicted of driving while intoxicated with a passenger in the motor vehicle who was 17 years of age or younger is also guilty of a disorderly persons offense. They will lose driving privileges for up to 6 months and be required to perform community service for up to 5 days.

N.J. Drunk / Drugged Driving Charge

Being charged and convicted for drunk or drugged driving in New Jersey can have a drastic and long-lasting impact on your life. But regardless of the circumstances surrounding your DWI / DUI arrest, you have a right to and deserve a strong and dedicated legal defense that seeks the best available outcome for you.

The sooner the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can get involved in your case, the better the opportunity to challenge the charges you face. There are many defenses to driving-while-intoxicated charges in New Jersey, and regardless of the allegations, prosecutors must prove their case. Our task, which we approach with the utmost seriousness, is to raise every issue and poke as many holes in the prosecution’s case as possible.

If you are still being held, our first objective will be to obtain your release at the lowest possible bail or to have you released on your own recognizance (ROR).

Next, we will meet with you to get your statement, obtain the police report and any other available evidence, and start asking questions.

Among the initial issues to explore are whether we can establish:

  • Lack of probable cause or reasonable suspicion for stopping you (an illegal traffic stop)
  • Lack of probable cause to believe you were intoxicated
  • Failure to advise you of your Miranda rights against self-incrimination
  • Improper or untimely administration of breath-alcohol content testing (with the Draeger Alcotest “breathalyzer” instrument)
  • Improper inspection and certification of the Draeger Alcotest breathalyzer machine
  • Illegal search and seizure if blood was drawn to test alcohol content
  • Improper administration and/or interpretation of field sobriety tests

To obtain a conviction, prosecutors must demonstrate two elements of the alleged crime:

  • Proof of operation of the motor vehicle. The element of “operation” is customarily established through actually seeing the defendant operate the vehicle, or circumstantial evidence demonstrating that the accused was operating or possessed an intention to operate the vehicle. Prosecutors typically attempt to establish “intention to operate” by presenting evidence that the defendant placed the keys of the vehicle in the ignition and/or that the vehicle was running.
  • Proof of intoxication (being under the influence). New Jersey has adopted the Draeger Alcotest 7110 MKIIIC as its official mechanism for testing breath samples in drunk driving arrests. If police cannot establish a per se violation through a breath or blood sample, they may attempt to establish intoxication through Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), also referred to as psycho-physical testing.

However, the Draeger Alcotest is a complex machine that must be properly calibrated and operated, and maintained between uses. Those who operate the device should be certified and should record the steps taken to calibrate it before administering each test. Additionally, field sobriety tests can easily be administered improperly, and results are highly susceptible to subjective interpretation. Our DWI defense lawyers fully understand how both of these testing regimens should be administered, and mistakes that are often made. We will aggressively challenge any deviation from proper protocol.

For a DUI, prosecutors are typically required to present evidence from a police officer trained and certified as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), indicating that the suspect was, in fact, under the influence of drugs. Blood or urine test results are also required to establish that the suspect had drugs in their system.

If a conviction cannot be avoided, our criminal defense attorneys will work to have BAC readings, or blood or urine test results excluded or depleted (reduced) so that you receive the minimum punishment available.

We can also negotiate with prosecutors and/or argue before a judge as to proper treatment of any prior convictions you have. Sentencing can vary significantly if your prior convictions are for a DWI rather than refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.

If your first conviction is for refusing to submit to testing rather than for a DWI, then New Jersey law says you must be sentenced as a first offender. However, if your prior conviction is for a DWI, and you are subsequently charged with a refusal, then this will be considered your second offense and the penalties will be much more severe.

Our attorneys can ensure that the law is applied properly in relation to the unique circumstances of your case. This requires a defense attorney who fully understands the law, and who has a relationship with local prosecutors and judges that ensures their arguments will be heard and considered. It also requires a defense attorney whose firm allows spending the time and resources needed to properly investigate and fully challenge DWI charges.

The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can provide that level of protection to you if you face a drunk driving charge in New Jersey. We have worked DWI cases as prosecutors and defense attorneys in courts across the state, and we recognize that people make mistakes. We can help you keep a DWI or DUI conviction from damaging your life today and limiting your opportunities in the future.

Meet With Our New Jersey DWI Lawyers Now

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence (DWI or DUI) anywhere in New Jersey, an attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can work to seek the best possible resolution to your case. It is imperative to hire an experienced N.J. DWI lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest. There are opportunities to challenge your arrest and/or evidence, and to avoid potentially costly and long-lasting penalties.

Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at any of our nine locations across New Jersey as soon as possible for a free initial consultation about a DWI charge.