New Jersey DUI Laws

DUI Laws in New Jersey

The United States has a blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 percent. This means that anyone with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit will be arrested. New Jersey has two different kinds of drunk driving charges: driving under the influence charges and driving while intoxicated charges. Either of these charges can be prosecuted in one of two ways.

New Jersey law allows the prosecution of individuals who have driven under the influence causing impairment. In these cases the prosecuting attorney will attempt to show that due to the consumption of alcohol that an individual was impaired while driving. The prosecuting attorney will provide evidence before the court for support. Evidence can include documentation of the individual’s physical appearance, field sobriety tests, blood alcohol content levels, driving patterns, breath tests, and urine tests. However, despite having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, an individual may not be convicted of a crime as sometimes an individual is not impaired, despite having a blood alcohol content above the 0.08 percent level.

Individuals may also be prosecuted for simply having a blood alcohol content level above the legal limit. This kind of prosecution is called per se law. The prosecuting attorney will provide an individual’s blood alcohol content level before the court. If the record shows the blood alcohol content level exceeds the legal limit then the individual will be convicted. Per se charges and impairment charges may vary depending on the circumstances of the cases.

DUI Convictions

DUI convictions in New Jersey are based on prior offenses. The basic rule states that the more offenses against an individual, the more severe the current convictions will be. Driving under the influence convictions can be increased heavily with certain circumstances. Advancing circumstances include having a minor in the vehicle upon arrest, driving above the speed limit, having a blood alcohol level double the legal limit, and cause injury or death to another. Convictions significantly increase when an individual’s blood alcohol content is double the limit, despite only being a first offense.

All DUI cases can have priors up to ten years. This means that after ten years, a prior DUI offense may not be used to aggravate a current offense. Consequences for drunk driving usually include imprisonment, fines, probation, vehicle impoundment, attendance to alcohol treatment courses, and driver’s license suspension.

Testing Refusal

When an individual acquires a driver’s license, he or she gives common consent to submit to blood alcohol testing or chemical testing when requested by a police officer. Under this consent an individual may not legally decline a testing request. If an individual does refuse to take a blood alcohol test, he or she will have his or her driver’s license automatically suspended. In these cases individuals are often convicted as the court will assume an individual is guilty because he or she refused to take the test.

Minor Drivers

In New Jersey those under the age of twenty-one will be arrested upon having blood alcohol content levels above 0.01 percent. Community service and driver’s license suspension will subsequently follow.

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