DUI Attorneys in Jersey City NJ
The relevant statute for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Hudson County is N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Pursuant to the New Jersey legislature, it unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds 0.08%. If you have already been convicted of a DWI in the past, then you probably have some familiarity with the law. What you may not know is that with each subsequent conviction, the penalties increase in severity. This means that while you may have avoided prison on your first DWI, a conviction for a third will carry a MANDATORY prison sentence. Hudson County Municipal Prosecutors and Judges have no discretion in handling these DWI cases. They cannot allow you to plead to a lesser charge and, if convicted, they must impose certain penalties, as required by law. For this reason, it is imperative that you fight these charges with an experienced Jersey City, NJ dwi defense firm. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our team of driving while intoxicated trial attorneys have over 100 years or cumulative experience. Our legal defense team has obtained dismissals and acquittals of DUI charges throughout Hudson County, including in towns like Jersey City, Hoboken, West New York, Weehawken and Harrison. Call our Jersey City Office and speak with an experienced DWI defense attorney today. Find out how we can assist you with your pending DUI charges.
What are the Penalties and Fines for a Third or Subsequent DUI?
If convicted of a third violation within ten (10) years of the second offense, you will be subject to a fine of $1,000, as well as the following mandatory assessments: $50 for the Victims of Crime Compensation Board, $75 for the Safe Neighborhood Fund, $100 for DUI Enforcement, and $100 as a DUI Surcharge and $33 in Court Costs. The third time offender will be sentenced to at least 180 days in prison. Though, this sentence may be reduced, by up to ninety (90) days, if the Defendant participates and completes a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. In addition, a third time offender will also lose their license for ten (10) years and be forced to install an ignition interlock device.
As mentioned above, if you are charged with a violation for driving while intoxicated for a second or third time, you may be exempt from the stricter penalties associated with second and third offenses. If the second offense occurs more than ten (10) years after the first offense, the court shall treat the second conviction as a first offense for sentencing purposes and if a third offense occurs more than ten (10) years after the second offense, the court shall treat the third conviction as a second offense for sentencing purposes.
What is “Operation of a Vehicle” for a New Jersey DUI?
For the Prosecutor to convict someone of a DUI offense, they must prove operation of motor vehicle, along with intoxication. While these two elements may seem straightforward, there is some complexity. To demonstrate “operation of a vehicle”, following four (4) elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. Control of the Vehicle
- Typically, to prove this the prosecution must show that the defendant was essentially sitting on the driver’s side, behind the wheel of the car. Simply being in this location will be sufficient for proof control. Just as DUI offenses can apply to non-automobile, this element will only require control of the wheel or object used to steer and move the motor vehicle.
2. A Present Intention to Cause the Motor Vehicle to Move
- The term “intent” here, indicates that actual movement of the car is not necessary to prove “operation of vehicle” under a DUI offense. Instead, a mere intention to move the car is sufficient. In theory, a person could start the car and be sitting in the driver’s seat, but if they have no intent of placing it in motion then, technically, they are not operating the motor vehicle. Despite this caveat, however, intent can be proven, when a person is in an intoxicated state, by virtue of all actions taken even if the defendant claims they had no intent to move the vehicle. What this means is that the police can infer intent when a person is in an inebriated state.
3. Some Action Taken to Place the Vehicle in Motion
- Under this portion of “operation of a motor vehicle”, the defendant must take an action reasonably calculated to put the motor vehicle in motion. The use of the phrase “reasonably calculated” permits an expansive interpretation for this section because because there are many things that can be construed as actions reasonably calculated to put a motor vehicle in motion. Prosecutors will look to construe the facts as broadly as possible, in an effort to indicate an attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion. You may think that not having the keys in the ignition is sufficient to protect you from prosecution, but under this broad interpretation, you may be incorrect.
4. The Possibility of Motion of the Vehicle
- The final element is that the vehicle must be movable by any means possible, including pushing or gliding. Therefore, in theory, a person could be guilty if the first three elements of the offense are satisfied and the car does not even have an engine, so long as the car can still be pushed to be put in motion. Of course, a person could not be guilty of a DWI, however, if the vehicle in question was in fact immovable, such as a person sitting behind the wheel of car with no wheels.
Weehawken NJ DWI Laweyrs
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall understand the complexities within New Jerseys DUI regulations. Our attorneys possess some very unique qualifications when it comes to defending DWI charges in New Jersey. For these qualification please check out our DWI practice series. If you would like to speak to any one of our Jersey City DUI defense lawyers, please contact our Hudson County Office at (201) 309-1800.