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Anyone, it seems, can find themselves facing a charge for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Just because you were stopped and charged with DWI does not mean that you are a bad person or had evil intent. Being charged with DWI, in most cases, does not make you an alcoholic. It just means that you made a bad decision. Your bad decision can have severe, expensive, and long-lasting consequences. That is why you need to have experienced, knowledgeable, and skilled Lakewood DWI attorneys fighting to protect your rights and livelihood if you are facing a DWI charge.DWI Law in New Jersey
A person may be found guilty of DWI under alternate theories of proof. One is known as the “per se” law. That is, a person whose blood alcohol concentration is .08% or above is guilty of DWI. The .08% per se law is commonly referred to as the “legal limit.” If you have more than one drink per hour, you run the risk of your BAC exceeding .08%.
The other theory of liability involves proving that the driver was driving while impaired by some intoxicating substance. Law enforcement officers will use a series of observations about your behavior, your driving, your speech, your motor skills, your reasoning, and the ability to follow instructions to gauge whether you are driving while intoxicated.
Law enforcement officers receive extensive training on identifying and investigating DWI cases. Officers receive training on spotting drivers who might be driving while intoxicated by looking for drivers who are swerving, slowing and accelerating without any noticeable reason, appear to have difficulty staying in their own lane which is sometimes called “drifting,” or excessive speed. A law enforcement officer may stop you for any of those reasons, or others as long as the driving behavior amounts to a moving violation or creates reasonable suspicion in the officer’s mind that you are breaking the law.
The officer will approach your car and ask for your license, registration, and proof of insurance. At this point, the police officer is now looking for a reason you were violating the law. The officer may engage you in conversation. Getting the driver to talk serves two purposes. First, the officer is interested in making sure your car is registered, insured, and you are properly licensed. Second, the officer is investigating whether you are impaired. The officer will look for:
- Bloodshot and glassy eyes,
- Slurred speech,
- Thick-tongued speech,
- Smell of alcoholic beverage coming from breath or interior of car,
- Your ability to remember certain things like where you keep the requested documents and whether you have difficulty locating and producing them,
- Your coordination and motor skills, and
- Mental state.
If the officer believes that you might be impaired, then he or she will ask you to step from the car and ask you to perform standardized field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are allegedly scientifically designed to determine whether a substance impairs your attention, reasoning, and coordination to the extent you cannot drive safely. The officer is looking to accumulate more evidence against you if he or she has asked you to perform a field sobriety test. Rarely can a person “pass” field sobriety tests and prove themselves sober. It can happen. For instance, a drowsy driver can mimic the signs of an impaired driver and may gather his or her senses enough to pass a field sobriety test. Also, a diabetic person might exhale a sweet-smelling scent from his or her breath which can be confused with the smell of an alcoholic beverage.
The officer can, and will, arrest you if he or she accumulated evidence amounting to probable cause that you are driving while intoxicated. You will be transported to a police station or other place of detention and asked to take a breathalyzer. The officer must read you rights informing you of the consequences of refusing the test. However, if you take the test and pass it, you should be released from custody. If not, you have the right under New Jersey law to seek a comparison test at your expense.DWI Penalties
New Jersey law establishes a system of graduated penalties. The penalties grew in severity as the level of intoxication and the number of previous convictions for DWI increases. Potential jail time, fines and fees increase as well as the length of mandatory license suspension. The potential penalties also increase if the breathalyzer readings exceed .10% BAC. Furthermore, a BAC reading of .15% or higher requires the imposition of an interlocking ignition device which must be installed following reinstatement of your driver’s license. Additionally, you will be assessed a surcharge on your car insurance that will last for at least three years. It is important to note that refusing a breathalyzer test also violates the law. Refusal to take a breathalyzer will result in license suspension and the imposition of additional fines and fees irrespective of the outcome of your case.DWI Defenses
Defending DWI cases is incredibly complex. An experienced and savvy Lakewood DWI attorney knows how to attack the officer’s observations and interpretations of the evidence the officer claims that proves you were intoxicated. Furthermore, breathalyzer tests have come under substantial scrutiny recently. An experienced DWI lawyer can demonstrate that the test was unreliable. Also, your attorney can attack the officer’s grounds for the stop before trial. A judge must suppress the evidence gathered against you if the officer violated your constitutional rights.Lakewood DWI Attorneys Available for You 24/7
Call the Lakewood DWI attorneys from Aretsky Law Group, P.C. 24/7 at 800-537-4154 if you were arrested for a DWI. Aretsky Law Group’s seasoned team of DWI attorneys are dedicated to achieving the best results for you. Call today to arrange an appointment at any one of our conveniently located meeting locations situated across New Jersey.