Your Edison DWI Case: The Basics

You're at your cousin Isabella's wedding at the Pines Manor in Edison -- again. Hey, third time is a supposed to be a charm, right? This one wasn't so bad. Plenty of food (surf & turf, chicken), alcohol (mostly cheap champagne), and a wedding band playing Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." After finishing a bottle of that cheap booze all by yourself, you wish Isabella well, carb-load some odd-looking dinner rolls, and drive home. Well, you almost made it home. About three blocks from your place, Edison Police pulled you over for a broken taillight and unnecessary braking. The nice police officer places you under arrest for a DWI after you fell over during something called a "field sobriety test."

If you are looking for some answers about DWIs/DUIs in Edison, this article may help. While every case is different depending on the individual circumstances, here is a general overview of what could happen in your New Jersey DWI case.

New Jersey DWIs are a Two-Part Process

Most people don't realize that when they are arrested for a DWI in New Jersey, they'll have to deal with two historically unpopular government agencies: the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and the Edison criminal courts. Why? Because the MVC will handle your license suspension pursuant to the implied consent laws and the courts will deal with your criminal case.

Conditional or Hardship Driver's Licenses

Your driving privilege will be automatically suspended by the MVC once you get arrested. It doesn't matter whether or not you are later convicted of an Edison DWI.

Can you get a hardship driver's license? No. The revocation of your driver's license in New Jersey is mandatory. There are currently no exceptions in New Jersey Law - there is no conditional driver's license for work or otherwise.

What are Typical DWI Charges?

In New Jersey, there are two ways a driver can be in violation of the DWI laws:

1) You are driving and your chemical test (blood, breath, or urine) result is 0.08%. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or higher;
2) You are driving and determined to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (also known as DWI "Per Se").

Essentially there are two ways to be convicted of DWI in New Jersey. The first is by operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. In this type of case, the Middlesex County prosecutor would need to prove that you consumed alcohol to the point where you were in a seriously diminished capacity. You don't have to have a blood a BAC of .08 or higher to be in violation of this law.

The second way involves what is called a "per se" violation, in which case the prosecutor only needs to prove your BAC was at .08 or more in order to convict you.

What Is a Sentencing Enhancement?

New Jersey increases your punishment if certain facts exist. You'll face enhanced penalties if you are DWI and:

  • You have multiple DWI convictions within ten years of each other;
  • You have a child in the car;
  • You are driving a commercial vehicle;
  • You refuse to submit to a chemical test (breath or blood);
  • Someone else is injured or there is property damage;
  • You are under 21. New Jersey has zero tolerance for drinking and/or using drugs and driving; or
  • You have a BAC of .10 or higher.

What Are the Possible DWI Penalties in Edison?

Your sentence will depend on several factors including what your BAC was at the time of driving and any prior DWI/DUI convictions on your record in the past ten years.

First Time DWI/DUI with a BAC of .08, but less than .10%:

  • Fine of $250-$400
  • Jail for up to 30 days;
  • 3-month license suspension;
  • Participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Program (minimum of two consecutive days for six hours a day;
  • Car insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.

First Time DWI/DUI with a BAC of .10% or Higher:

  • Fine of $300-$500;
  • Jail for up to 30 days;
  • 7 month- 1 Year license suspension;
  • Participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Program (minimum of two consecutive days for six hours a day;
  • Car insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.

Second Time DWI Within 10 Years:

  • Fine of $500-$1,000;
  • Jail for at least 48 hours and up to 90 days;
  • 2 Year license suspension;
  • 48 Consecutive Hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Program;
  • Car insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years;
  • Mandatory Installation of the Ignition Interlock Device for 1-3 years after the end of the your license suspension.

Third Time DWI Within 10 Years:

  • Fine of $1,000;
  • Jail for up to 180 days;
  • 10 Year license suspension;
  • Detainment in an in patient alcohol treatment program;
  • Car insurance surcharge of $1,500 a year for 3 years;
  • Mandatory Installation of the Ignition Interlock Device for 1-3 years after the end of the your license suspension.

Ignition Interlock Device

If you've been convicted of any DWI-related offense, the judge has the option of requiring you to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle you own or intend to drive. The court might have you install the device if the court might order an IID if you had:

  • BAC of at least 0.15%;
  • Having a Child in the Car;
  • Prior DWI convictions within ten years;
  • Refusing the chemical test.

The state has online resources to learn more about the IID and where to get one installed on your car.

A Final Word About Edison DWIs

The DWI laws in New Jersey are tough. If you've been arrested and charged, consider speaking to a Edison DWI lawyer or the seek the help of the public defender or a legal aid organization about your options.

Remember, it's best to never drink or use drugs and drive. Select a designated driver ahead of time who will stay sober. You can also ask someone else to give you a ride, call a taxi, or use public transportation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.