A second offense DWI in Morris County is a serious offense that can directly impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle in this state, open you up to potentially heavy fines, and affect your future and present job prospects. If you or a loved one has been charged with a second offense DWI in towns like Roxbury, Dover, Denville, Mount Olive, Rockaway, Washington, Boonton, Parsippany, Mendham, Florham Park or East Hanover, you cannot afford to be without representation in facing these charges. Here at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall, our office has over 100 years of combined experience defending individuals charged with driving while intoxicated, assault by auto, refusal to submit to a breath test and death by auto. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation with any one of the eight Morris County, New Jersey driving under the influence defense lawyers on staff at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall, please contact our Morristown office directly at 973.309.7050. Now here is some key information about second offense dwi ‘s in New Jersey, including the applicable penalties if convicted.
N.J.S.A. 39:4-50: 2nd Offense DWI Lawyers in Denville
Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, New Jersey’s Drunk Driving Statute, the state has the burden of proving two separate elements, operation of a motor vehicle and proof of intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt.
- It is important to note that as to the first element of the state’s case, operation of a motor vehicle, the state need not prove based on case law that the defendant actually drove a vehicle. Rather, the foundation of the operation element is based off of the defendant’s intention to operate a motor vehicle. Typically speaking, this intent to operate is established through the act of getting behind the wheel of a car and starting the motor vehicle, whether or not the defendant actually then puts the car in motion being irrelevant so long as they have the intent to ultimately operate that motor vehicle. However, it has been held, in a limited number of cases, that even where the defendant has walked out of a bar and started their motor vehicle that where the defendant has not shown an intention to operate the vehicle that the operational element has not been established (State v. Daly).
- As for the proof of intoxication element, the state has several viable options. The two most common ways that the state proves intoxication are through the use of Field Sobriety Tests and through the use of the Breathalyzer test. While both are per se admissible in a court of law, an experienced attorney will know how best to draw into question their reliability. The most common factors that weigh against the admission of a field sobriety test are related to disability or injuries of the defendant. As the field sobriety test relates to the coordination of the defendant, naturally injuries that affect the ability of the defendant to perform those tests are relevant to the overall reliability of field sobriety tests as evidence of intoxication. For the Breathalyzer test, in our State, officers need to follow a very specific procedure in order for the results to be reliable. The specificity of this procedure often results in mistakes, which also have the effect of tainting the reliability of the readings that are procured. An experienced attorney will be able to assess whether the state has followed proper procedure in establishing the reliability of the readings obtained from the breathalyzer test, which in New Jersey is the Alcotest 7110.
What are the Penalties for a Second Offense DWI in NJ?
If convicted, a second offense DWI will result in the suspension of your license for two years as well as fines ranging from $500 to $1000. You will also be subject to a surcharge of $1000 annually for 3 years. Additionally, there is the possibility that you could spend between 2 and 90 days in jail. Lastly, the offense also mandates that you serve 30 days of community service (180 hours) and that an ignition interlock device be installed on your motor vehicle.
While this certainly looks to be and is a very serious offense, do not think that there is nothing that can be done for you. The first thing that an attorney will look at is the timing of your previous conviction. If ten years have passed in between convictions, this offense may be able to be treated as a first offense for sentencing purposes, meaning that both the suspension of your license and the amount of the fines imposed may be lessened. Even if you do not have the benefit of this step down, however, as stated above, an experienced attorney will know how best to attack both the operational element and the state’s proof of intoxication.
Experienced DUI Defense Attorneys in Morris County, NJ
Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we believe we may be the most qualified in the state when it comes to defending against DWI charges. Our attorneys possess some of the most unique qualifications when it comes to mounting a successfully DWI defense. So please, if you or a loved one has been charged with second offense DWI or even a first offense DUI in Morris County, do not hesitate to contact one of our offices today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney about the particulars of your case.