NJ DWI First Offense Cases

As a New Jersey DWI lawyer, my goal is always to do the best job for my client, which means seeking to get the DWI dismissed. If that cannot be accomplished based on the circumstances of the case, then the next goal is to seek a reduction of the suspension time.

In first offense DWI cases in New Jersey, there is a two tiered sentencing structure.

If your breath or blood alcohol result was 0.10% or greater, then you are an alleged second-tier offender. This means, that if convicted, you face a license suspension of 7 to 12 months. If your breath breath or blood alcohol result was 0.15% or higher, then you are also subject to mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

If your breath or blood alcohol result was less than 0.10%, then you are an alleged first tier offender, which carries a maximum license suspension of three months, and there is no mandatory required interlock installation.

The fines and assessments for a first or second tier violation are the same, essentially. You can expect to pay about $700 in court fines, a $3000 surcharge to the state out of court, payable at $1000 a year, and payable monthly. Your automobile insurance company will also surcharge you separately. Depending on your gender, age group, marital status, and prior history, insurance companies surcharges can be more than $1000 a year, additional. For higher risk drivers, including younger drivers, the surcharge can be several thousand dollars a year.

Because New Jersey does not have a work license or a hardship license, reduction of the suspension time between a second tier offense and a first tier offense is significant.

In order to obtain the best result in your circumstance, it is critical that you consult with a qualified New Jersey DWI attorney. That lawyer can best assess your circumstances, assess the strengths and weaknesses of your situation, and advise you on how to proceed. Your lawyer should have a reputation for going to trial in case. Prosecutors, judges and police officers will then know that your lawyer is prepared to fight for you.

There are many ways to be successful in DWI defense. Cases can be won and suspensions can be eliminated or reduced.

Even if you have a high breath test result, the reading can be suppressed. For example if you have a reading that puts you in the second tier and you’re facing an interlock, procedural issues such as failure to provide discovery or failure to follow protocol, the reading can be suppressed and that second tier case now becomes a first tier case. Then, if the physical case against you can be successfully addressed, the DWI can be dismissed.

Call us at Levow & Associates for a free consultation regarding your New Jersey DWI arrest.