Representing People Charged with Drunk Driving and Other Traffic and Criminal Offenses in Camden County
There are about 1 million drunk driving arrests in the United States each year, making DWI/DUI perhaps the most common criminal offense charged in the country. Even in a relatively small borough like Bellmawr, you are more likely to encounter the police in the context of a drunk driving arrest than most other infractions. Indeed, given Bellmawr’s position at the crossroads of I-76, I-295, and the New Jersey Turnpike, you know that local law enforcement maintains constant vigilance for any potential sign of driving under the influence.
The Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, can advise and represent you if you are one of those Camden County residents who have been arrested and charged with DWI/DUI. Our Bellmawr DWI attorney, Matthew V. Portella, has extensive experience defending clients against not only DWI charges but a wide range of other New Jersey traffic as well as criminal offenses, including weapons charges, drug possession, sexual offenses, and burglary and robbery charges. Every New Jersey resident charged with traffic and criminal offense has the right to the effective assistance of counsel, and our office can provide you with that.
The Penalties for Drunk Driving in New Jersey Escalate with the Number of Prior Offenses
DWI/DUI is the traffic offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The commonly cited threshold for DWI/DUI in New Jersey is having a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent, which is typically measured by a breath or blood test following an arrest. But it is important to understand that the 0.08 percent threshold is just one way that a New Jersey prosecutor can prove DWI/DUI. It is possible to be charged, tried, and convicted of drunk driving based on other circumstantial evidence, such as the observations of an arresting officer.
The severity of a New Jersey DWI/DUI conviction generally depends on whether or not this is your first offense. A first DWI/DUI conviction carries the following penalties if your BAC is a .08 or .09 percent or if you refuse to give breath samples for testing purposes :
- a fine of between $250 and $400;
- up to 30 days in jail;
- loss of your driver’s license until an ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in your car, which must remain in place for 3 months;
- completion of a two-day course at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center; and
- an additional surcharge of $1,000 for 3 years on your auto insurance policy.
Even with a first offense, these penalties can still be increased based on certain aggravating factors. For example, if the state can prove that your BAC was between 0.10 and 0.15 percent, you can face a higher fine and have to keep an ID in your car for up to 1 year as opposed to 3 months.
With a second DWI/DUI conviction, the penalties are even more harsh and include:
- a fine of between $500 and $1,000;
- at least 48 consecutive hours in jail and up to 90 days;
- suspension of your driver’s license for a period of between 1 and 2 years;
- mandatory use of an IID during the period of driver’s license suspension and for between 2 and 4 years after your driver’s license is restored; and
- 30 days of community service.
For a third conviction, the consequences are significantly more onerous and include:
- a fine of $1,000;
- up to 180 days in jail, with up to 90 days credited for serving in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program;
- suspension of your driver’s license for 8 years, followed by the use of an IID in your car for a period of 2 to 4 years;
- 30 days of community service; and
Additional Penalties for DWI as a Minor or Driving with a Suspended License
Another key consideration in a DWI/DUI case is the age of the defendant. As you know, the legal age to purchase or consume alcohol in New Jersey is 21. This means that if you are below the legal age, any amount of alcohol in your system is considered illegal. In practical terms, you can be tried and convicted of underage DWI/DUI with a BAC of between 0.01 and 0.07 percent if you are under the age of 21. A person under the age of 21 convicted of underage DWI/DUI will have their driving privileges suspended or postponed for 30 to 90 days and be required to perform 15 to 30 days of community service.
It is also important to note that anyone caught driving with a suspended license due to a prior DWI/DUI conviction can be charged with a separate criminal offense that carries a possible jail term of a mandatory minimum period of 180 days up to 18 months.
We Help Camden County Residents Charged with Traffic and Criminal Offenses
Any traffic or criminal charge must be taken seriously, whether it involves a DWI/DUI, a drug charge, or a sexually based offense. Bellmawr DWI/DUI attorney Matthew V. Portella and his team can review your case and advise you of your best course of action for defending yourself in court. Contact him today to schedule an initial consultation.