New Jersey DUI Laws
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 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.
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.
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.