Anyone who has been charged with a DUI offense in New Jersey knows that it feels like the worst thing that can happen to you. For many of us, a driver’s license is necessary and without it, we can lose our sense of freedom, our livelihood, our family, and the list goes on. Without being able to drive to work or pick up our kids from school, we cannot pay our bills or fulfill our obligations to ourselves and others. And in New Jersey when it comes to DWI charges, being charged as a repeat offender means that the penalties are worse in the majority circumstances. For a third DWI, the consequences you face are the most severe among those for driving under the influence offenses. Believe it or not, a conviction can require more time in jail than possessing drugs in some cases. Bearing this in mind, it is essential to have experienced defense representation in the face of serious third time DUI charges in Linden, Cranford, Elizabeth, Clark, Scotch Plains, Mountainside, or another town in the Union County area. With highly specialized credentials and training for DWI prosecution and defense, our team of attorneys at Proetta & Oliver has what it takes to handle your case. Contact us at (908) 838-0150 if you would like to speak with a lawyer about a third DWI in New Jersey. We are available anytime for further information and the consultation is always provided free of costs.
Third DWI Charges & Penalties in New Jersey
First, in order to be convicted of a third DWI, the state must prove that you plead to or were found guilty of driving under the influence on two prior occasions. The two prior DUIs can be in New Jersey, California, Florida or any other state. In fact, all that the state must show is that you violated similar DUI laws on at least two prior occasions. NJ DWI law under Title 39 Section 4-50 law allows the police to charge you with a violation if there is reason to believe that you have been drinking alcohol or ingesting drugs and drove a motor vehicle. They will testify that your driving was impaired by the use of said substances. If proven, you face certain penalties as provided by the statute. Specifically, for a third DWI offense, you will be sentenced to 180 days in jail and will lose your license for 8 years. You may do up to 90 days in alcohol or substance abuse treatment but you must do the remaining 90 days in jail. On top of the jail time, the court will impose a fine of as much as $1,000, and make you pay for and attend an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program (IDRC). You will also be assessed thousands of dollars in fees from the State of New Jersey and insurance surcharges each year. On top of that, any late payments are compounded with exorbitant interest rates.
How is a 3rd DUI Different from Previous DUI Offenses in NJ?
In the realm of DWI prosecutions, the third offense penalties are vastly different from those of first or second offenses. For example for a first DUI, if you have a blood alcohol level above .08% but below .10%, your license will only be suspended until you install an interlock ignition device on the car. There is no set timeframe for the suspension, as it will depend on how quickly you can install the interlock. Additionally, you are not required to serve jail time for a first offense as you would with a third offense. Aside from the number of offenses, the penalties for a first DWI increase as the blood alcohol content increases (BAC). If the BAC is greater than .10% and less than .15%, the penalties are similar to that of less than .10%, but if this increases to greater than .15%, jail time of 30 days can be imposed in addition to 7 months’ loss of driving privileges.
With each new offense, the penalties increase. Thus, if you commit a second DWI offense, the penalty increases to a minimum suspension of 1 year and a maximum of 2 years. Of course, there are major financial consequences in first, second, and third driving under the influence cases as well. The 7 month suspension is also imposed in cases involving DUI drugs and not alcohol. The fine for the first offense is $300-$500. For a second offense, the fine increases and ranges from $500-$1,000.
Charged with my Third DWI, What are my Options?
People charged with drunk driving often feel hopeless and confused. While the outlook may seem bleak at first, it may get brighter as there are ways to combat the case. We understand this and strive to clear up any misgivings, lace-up our proverbial boxing gloves, and go after the state. For example, we may be able to reclassify your third offense as a second and take advantage of the ten year step-down provision. If ten years elapsed between offenses, you may be entitled to be sentenced as if you committed one less DWI in the past. So instead of getting your license suspended for 8 years, you will only be suspended for 1 as though you had only committed a second offense and not a third. Hypothetically, if DUI #1 occurred in 1995, DWI #2 in 2000, and then DUI #3 in 2020, you should be entitled to a step-down. This is because ten years or more have gone by between your second (2000) and your third (2020) DWI and the court accordingly can treat your third as a second offense.
In other cases, we may uncover problems with the Alcotest machine (aka the breathalyzer). Maybe the person who performed the test or calibration is under suspension or perhaps the machine was not certified. While in other cases, the operator of the machine may not be able to attest to the proper administration of the test itself and the reading can be shown to be inaccurate. Other cases may involve an officer that had no lawful reason to stop you and the ensuing DWI charge must be thrown out.
Get Attorney Help with Your 3rd DWI Charge in Union NJ
Regardless of how it happened, if you have been charged with a third DUI, we would love to get started with diving into your case and ripping through it with any available defenses. Of course, we cannot get started with developing your top defense approach if you do not make the call. Even if you merely have questions about being charged with DWI for a third time in Westfield, Berkeley Heights, Clark, Summit, or Union Township, our skilled team of NJ DWI defense lawyers can assist you. Contact our local Cranford office now at (908) 838-0150 for your free consultation.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Mount Laurel, Point Pleasant, Princeton and Middletown. All major credit cards are accepted