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What Is The Difference Between DWI And DUI In New Jersey?

The statute talks about DWI, but a DWI can be either drug or alcohol based, DUI is used to sometimes refer to driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, but under New Jersey law, it does not make a difference. It is like some people still call the breath test the breathalyzer, even though the machine we use in New Jersey is called the Alcotest, like some people still say Xeroxes to me when they do not have a Xerox machine.

How Often Do You Handle Third-Time DUI Cases in New Jersey?

Third-offense DUI cases are something that we specialize in, and there are only a handful of attorneys who handle third-offense cases. Most attorneys will turn them down or refer them to another lawyer because of the repercussions that come with them and because of the amount of work and specialization that is necessary to defend a third-offense DWI.

Is A First-Time DUI Offense Construed As A Traffic Violation In New Jersey?

At the current moment, all DWI offenses in New Jersey are traffic offenses. They are considered quasi-criminal. On the first two offenses, you are facing some pretty onerous suspensions but jail time is not usually a serious component of the offense. On the third offense from a DWI, there is a mandatory six-month jail sentence and a 10-year driving suspension. Those two things can really end people’s lives, resulting in losing their families, homes, businesses or jobs; actually, almost all cases will result in most of those things.

For being incarcerated, you do not have a criminal record, but it is pretty darn serious, and most people do not want to be part of something where there is a chance that their client is going to jail and losing a great deal of what they have worked for in their entire lives. Many people will not take those cases although it is not a criminal offense, but it does have very serious criminal implications; it cannot be plea bargained, and it is going to be converted to a criminal offense.

The Penalties And Fines Associated With A Third-Time DUI Offense

You are going to be facing a six-month incarceration. There is the possibility of serving three months of that in an in-patient rehab center, but many people cannot afford to do that especially when they have spent so much on the defense. There is also a 10-year loss of your driver’s license and the fines can be somewhere in the range of $2,500. During that 10-year license suspension, you are required to put an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, which can also cost over those 10 years about $18,000 or $1,800 a year even though you do not have a car. It is a very serious matter that is led to New Jersey Supreme Court considering providing jury trials for third-time offenders.

Is An Ignition Interlock Device Mandatory For All Third-Time DUI Offenses?

If the judge is going to require that you have the ignition interlock device on your car during the period of suspension then yes. Most people say, “Why would I have a car during the period of suspension if I can’t drive it for 10 years?” The reason is if you do not comply with the ignition interlock component that 10 years does not start to run. The state says, “Well, if you don’t have a car, you don’t need a license”. It is twisted logic, it makes no sense, and it is hurting a lot of people, but that is the requirement, even though you cannot drive for a decade, you would be required to have a car with an ignition interlock device in it for that decade to run.

An Ignition Interlock Device Is Not Inexpensive

This is one of the ordinances we are trying to make and get jury trials for third offenders. That it is not just a six-month jail sentence. There are other costs and penalties that come into effect, one of which is $75 a month for the ignition interlock device; you are dealing with. I think it came out to about $18,000, so $1,800 a year, $18,000 over a ten-year period. So, it is just an unnecessary pounding of someone to hurt them. There is also a three-year surcharge of $1,000 per year for the DUI on a third-offense case.

Is There a Work License Available To Third-Time DUI Offenders?

No. There is no work license available in New Jersey and they would never give it to a third-offense DWI driver. It is one of the reasons why these cases are so important to win; it really can change your life in a negative way and ruin what you have built up.

For more information on DUI and DWI offenses in New Jersey, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 908-643-7005 today.

The Law Offices of James A. Abate LLC

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