The Role of Alcohol Education and Treatment Programs in DWI Cases
Were you arrested for intoxicated driving in New Jersey? You need to take proactive steps to protect your rights. While not technically a criminal violation, a DWI is a serious traffic matter that carries stiff penalties, potentially including jail time. Our state puts an emphasis on rehabilitation—especially for first-time offenders. Alcohol education and/or alcohol treatment may be part of the “penalties” in a DWI case. At the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, we have extensive experience defending DWI charges. Here, our New Jersey DWI defense attorney provides a comprehensive overview of the role of alcohol education and treatment programs in DWI cases.
A DWI is a Traffic Offense in New Jersey (Penalties Vary Based on Specific Circumstances)
As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that a DWI charge is not, by itself, a criminal violation in New Jersey. Unlike most U.S. jurisdictions, New Jersey classifies intoxicated driving as a traffic offense. That is not to say that a DWI is not a big deal—a conviction for drunk driving or drugged driving can still carry stiff penalties. These penalties will vary based on case-specific factors, such as the driver’s prior history of DWI offenses or their BAC level at the time of the arrest.
An Overview of the New Jersey IDP/IDRC Program
A person who is convicted of a DWI in New Jersey must satisfy the requirements of the Intoxicated Driving Program (IDP). The IDP is managed by Intoxicated Driving Resource Centers (IDRC)—which are set up at the county level in New Jersey. In effect, IDP/IDRC is an alcohol education and treatment program. The New Jersey IDP/IDRC program for DWI offenses has two broad purposes:
- To provide direct education, treatment, monitoring, and guidance for motorists who need support for an alcohol or drug issue; and
- To help ensure that our state’s roadways are safer by reducing the rate of drunk driving and drugged driving.
What IDP/IDRC Program Will I Be Required to Attend After a DWI Conviction in New Jersey?
What are the educational/treatment requirements for a DWI charge in New Jersey? The answer depends on the specific situation that you are dealing with, including your previous record of drunk driving/drugged driving convictions or lack thereof. For example, for a first offense DWI in New Jersey, a conviction will require at least six hours per day on two consecutive days in an IDP program at an IDRC. However, a second-time DWI conviction in New Jersey could result in a sentence of a 48-hour IDRC program, whereby the driver will be detained, educated, and screened at a regional facility.
What Happens If a Driver Fails to Participate in Intoxicated Driving Program (IDP)
New Jersey’s educational/treatment requirements for DWI cases are strict. A driver who declines to participate in the IDP program may face serious sanctions. A driver who fails to appear at the county IDRC or fails to satisfactorily complete the IDP requirements in a timely manner can have their driver’s license suspended. Failure to pay fees could be deemed a failure to meet program requirements. A license suspension could be imposed until the IDP/IDRC requirements are satisfied. Notably, a driver who fails to comply with the IDP/IDRC requirements that have been imposed in relation to their DWI case could also face two days in jail for noncompliance.
A New Jersey DWI Attorney Can Protect Your Rights and Your Interests
Navigating a DWI traffic offense is complicated. It is normal to have a ton of questions and concerns about what you need to do after arrest. You do not have to take on the process alone. A New Jersey DWI defense attorney can help to protect your rights and interests. Among other things, an experienced New Jersey DWI defense lawyer can assess the evidence, review the allegations, guide you through the IDP/IDRC program, and develop a personalized strategy.
Contact Our New Jersey DWI Defense Lawyer for a Confidential Consultation
At the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, we are standing by, ready to protect your rights, your liberty, and your future. If you have any questions about the role of alcohol education and/or alcohol treatment programs in a DWI case, we are here to help. Give us a phone call now or contact us online to set up your fully confidential consultation. With law offices in Haddonfield, we handle DWI cases throughout the region.