DWI Sentencing in New Jersey

New Jersey Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Sentencing

Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, New Jersey’s drunk driving statute, the severity of sentencing varies depending on whether it is the motorist’s first offensesecond offense or third or subsequent offense. In this regard, there are commensurate ranges of penalties that apply at the time of sentencing depending on the offense number. Our attorneys are well acquainted with the DWI law and all issues concerning sentencing given their over 100 years of collective experience—many of which served as prosecutors. This site contains helpful information with respect to sentencing including what is involved if you are facing a first offense, second offense, or third offense. You should know, however, that our lawyers are frequently successful in not only reducing penalties, but also have occasion to get driving while intoxicated charges dismissed altogether. How do we achieve such favorable sentences and even dismissals? Because we are uncompromising when it comes to defending a case to its fullest, including utilizing our training on the breathalyzer and field sobriety testing, our decades of experience, and our familiarity with the court system and personnel throughout NJ. Give us a call anytime 24/7 to speak to an experienced defense DWI defense lawyer free of charge.

Aggravating & Mitigating Factors That Apply At Sentencing

There are certain circumstances that can be aggravating in terms of penalties and there are others that can mitigate. The more common factors in terms of DWI sentencing are:

  • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Since BAC is an indication of the likelihood to commit another offense, courts are permitted to consider this factor in formulating a sentence. An excessively high BAC reading is something that a judge can consider as an aggravating factor.
  • Driving History. The existence of prior moving violations may be factored at sentencing especially to deter continued disregard of the traffic laws.
  • Was there an Accident or Injury? Whether an accident occurred and, if so, the extent of property damage or injury is a relevant consideration when it comes to imposition of penalties. In fact, a victim who has sustained property damage or injury as a result of an alcohol-related accident has the right to speak at sentencing.
  • Demeanor and/or Cooperation With Police. A court may consider the respect or disrespect shown by a motorist for law enforcement at the time of arrest when crafting a sentence.
  • Risk of Injury. When a N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 violation involves enhanced recklessness and exposure of others to death or serious injury, a judge may consider this fact when imposing penalty.
  • Alcohol Rehabilitation. While it is no defense or consideration as to guilt, a court may consider an individual’s efforts to rehabilitate prior to sentencing. This demonstrates not only a level of commitment to insure that a DWI does not happen again, but also that any underlying alcohol dependency and/or abuse issue is evaluated and addressed.

Previous Convictions For Purposes of Sentencing

As stated previously, the penalties that apply at the time of sentencing depend on the number, if any, of prior DWI convictions on an individual’s record. In this regard, a prior conviction for boating while intoxicated (BWI) does not count against an individual convicted under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 when it comes to sentencing. The same obviously is not true when it comes to a prior conviction in NJ for DWI. That conviction counts against an individual as a prior except where the 10 Year Step-Down applies. Out-of-state convictions for driving while intoxicated also count if they were based on a BAC level that was at or above the legal limit that existed in New Jersey at the time of the out-of-state violation. If you have any questions regarding NJ DWI sentencing, attorneys at our firm are available 24/7 for consultation. Give us a call.