Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Could Cause You Big Trouble
A police officer may stop a vehicle for a variety reasons, some of which may have nothing to do with whether impaired driving is suspected. Regardless, if an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the driver is driving while intoxicated he may ask the driver to comply with additional testing. The tests can include field sobriety tests and, if there is enough probable cause to believe the driver is intoxicated, a breath test analysis. The laws pertaining to drunk driving in Ocean County can be very complex. Being stopped for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Brick, Lavallette, Toms River and the numerous other shore towns in New Jersey can have a great impact on your life. If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated it is imperative that you hire an experienced DWI defense attorney to help guide you through the legal process. It doesn’t matter if the impairment is from Drugs or Alcohol, either one carries severe penalties. A charge of DWI is one of the most serious motor vehicle violations that you can face.
What qualifies as Driving While Intoxicated (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50)?
Say you go to a local bar for happy hour one Friday evening after work in Point Pleasant Beach and you have what you would consider to be only a few drinks. You may feel fine once you leave the bar and decided to get behind the wheel of your car on your way home. But under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 those few drinks might warrant an arrest for drunk driving. A police officer will observes your ability to drive and look for any missteps. They might look for your inability to maintain your lane, failing to stop at a light, not using a signal light to change lanes or numerous other traffic infractions. Once the officer has reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop they will pull you over. The police officer will conduct an interview with the driver and if they determine that the driver has been drinking by observing an open container of alcohol, smelling alcohol on the drivers breath, slurred speech or the drivers inability to comply with simple commands then the police officer may have the driver step out of the car and preform a set of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST).
What Is A Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST)?
The SFSTs will likely include three tests. They included the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the One Leg Stand and Walk and Turn. The police officer is required to clearly provide directions for each test. In all three tests the officer is observing the ability of the driver to follow directions and ability to maintain balance.Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) the police officer may use their finger or pen as a stimulus to provide a focal point for the driver to follow with their eyes. The driver is to keep their head completely still during this test and only use their eyes to follow the object that the police officer is moving from side to side. The officer will be observing the lack of smooth motion with the driver’s eyes as they follow the stimulus.One Leg Stand the driver will lift one leg off the ground approximately 6 inches for 30 seconds while the driver counts.Walk And Turn in this test the driver will walk a straight line, heal to toe for nine steps then turn around and walk back heel to toe for nine steps.Walk And Turn in this test the driver will walk a straight line, heal to toe for nine steps then turn around and walk back heel to toe for nine steps.
What Is A Breath Test?
If the officer feels that the driver is impaired after completing the SFST, they will place the driver under arrest for driving while intoxicated (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50). The arresting officer will transport the offender to the local police station where the driver will have to submit to a breath test by blowing a breath into a Dräger Alcotest® 7110 device. The breath test will determine the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration. Under New Jersey implied consent law it is illegal to refuse a breath test. The police can not force a person to take a breath test but if they do refuse they will be charged with refusal (39:4-50.2). Refusal carries similar penalties as that of a DWI. If you do not submit to a breath test after being asked to do so; will result in the individuals driver’s license being suspended from seven to twelve months. If the refusal is in connection with a second offense, it will be revoked for two years. For refusals in connection with a third or subsequent offense the revocation shall be for ten years. Also refusing to take a breath test does not mean you won’t be charged with drunk driving. You can still be charged with the DWI in addition to the refusal.
What Is Blood Alcohol Concentration?
The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration in New Jersey is below 0.08% for those of the legal drinking age of 21. For those below 21 there is a zero tolerance for DWI. A minor will be charged with a DWI with a BAC of 0.01%. For those with a Commercial Driver’s License the legal limit is 0.04% if they are driving a commercial vehicle at the time of their DWI stop.
Consequences Of Drunk Driving In New Jersey
Get The Assistance Of A DWI Attorney Today!
The experienced DWI Defense Attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. have been defending those facing DWI charges since 1996. Our law firm is conveniently located in Point Pleasant Beach and represents clients facing DWI charges in Lakewood, Jackson, Manchester and across Ocean County, New Jersey.
Have you been charged with a DWI or a Refusal? The Ocean County Criminal Defense Attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are here to help! Call (732) 800-7740 today!