Pennsauken NJ Second Offense DWI Lawyer
DUI Defense Attorney in Camden County
There are very few offenses under New Jersey law that require the imposition of a specific, unalterable sentence upon conviction. Second offense DWI represents one of these violations, as it entails a mandatory driver’s license suspension between one (1) and two (2) years, in addition to other penalties. With no judicial or prosecutorial discretion on the period of license suspension, your options are exceedingly limited if you are charged with second offense DWI. In this position, a dismissal is essential in order to avoid certain consequences, which is why an experienced DWI defense attorney can truly spell the difference between a positive and negative outcome.
William Fay is a highly skilled defense lawyer who has been effectively representing clients charged with DWI offenses in New Jersey for years. Mr. Fay’s approach to DWI defense is based on extensive knowledge and investigation. In fact, he utilizes his previous experience investigating cases as a member of the NJ Attorney General’s Office to identify weaknesses in the State’s case that may provide grounds for a dismissal. Through diligent work and innovative defense strategies, Mr. Fay has achieved successes in courts throughout New Jersey, including those in Bellmawr, Berlin, Haddon Twp, Gloucester Twp, Waterford, Voorhees and Oaklyn. To speak with him about your 2nd DUI case, contact our offices at 609-832-3202 for immediate assistance and a cost-free consultation.
Second Offense DWI Lawyer in Cherry Hill NJ
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, New Jersey delineates among three levels of DWI offenses: first offense, second offense, and third or subsequent offense. The penalties associated with a conviction increase relative to the number of previous offenses for which the defendant was found guilty. Unlike first offense DWI, the penalties for a second offense DWI do not vary based on the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at the time.
The penalties for a second offense DWI in New Jersey are:
- Jail: A second DWI offense carries a mandatory jail sentence of at least two (2) days in the Camden County jail. This is in stark contrast to a first DWI offense, which does not require the judge to impose jail time. While the mandatory minimum period of incarceration is two (2) days, the Judge can impose a sentence upwards of nine (90) days in jail! The length of your incarceration will vary based on the aggravating and mitigating factors of your case. Factors considered by a judge include your BAC level, whether an motor vehicle accident occurred, your prior driving record and your interactions with law enforcement.
- Driver’s License Suspension: If you are convicted of a second offense DWI, the Judge is required to suspend your driving privileges for a period between one and two years. The length of suspension varies by individual case based on aggravating and mitigating factors discussed above. While someone facing a first time DWI offense can avoid a suspension based on the installation of an ignition interlock device, a second time offender is not afforded this privilege.
- Ignition Interlock Device: If convicted, the Judge must impose a mandatory period of installation of an ignition interlock device on your primary vehicle for a period of two (2) to four (4) years after your period of license suspension. Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device includes monthly costs and, if imposed for four (4) years, can add up to a substantial amount of money.
- Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC): You will be required to enroll in IDRC courses as a condition of your guilty plea or conviction. Failure to comply with this will prevent you from restoring your driver’s license and mandate your return to Court for further penalties.
NOTE: In order to be charged with a second offense DWI in New Jersey, your first DWI conviction must have occurred within the last ten years. If your first DWI conviction occurred outside of the ten-year window, there is what is known as a ten-year step-down, which allows you to be charged with a first offense DWI.
How Does the 10-Year Step-Down DWI Provision Work?
While you may be facing a second offense DWI based on your driving history, the court could be petitioned to treat your second offense as a first offense DWI, for the limited purposes of sentencing penalties. This is known as the 10-year step down provision, or the 10-Year Rule. To put it bluntly, if your prior DWI/DUI conviction occurred more than 10 years before your most recent offense, then you may qualify for this benefit.
Considering the significant increase in penalties between a first time DWI offender and a second time DWI offender, this step-down provision can have massive consequences on your case. One example is that a first offense DWI does not require an automatic license suspension (assuming you install an ignition interlock device), while a second offense carries a mandatory 1-2 year suspension plus installation of the ignition interlock device for 2-4 years.
The complicated nature of New Jersey DWI laws means that the defendant must formally request that the 10-year step down rule be applied in their case, which is where an experienced DWI attorney can provide invaluable assistance.
How Does a Prior Out-of-State Drunk Driving Offense Change Things?
A lot of clients call our office because they have prior DWI offenses in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland or Delaware and are not sure how that changes their case in New Jersey. It is important to understand that an out-of-state DWI, DUI or DWAI conviction may be used as a prior offense for the purposes of determining whether you should be subject to enhanced charges for a second offense DWI. In other words, your earlier conviction for drunk driving or drugged driving in, say, New York or Pennsylvania can count against you later if you were charged and convicted for DWI in New Jersey. To determine how this will impact your case, we will need to review your court records from the prior matters to determine the exact nature of your earlier conviction.
For those individuals who reside in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland or Delaware, be aware that any penalties assessed in in New Jersey for a DWI offense will likely be transmitted to your home state for further action. This is require under the Driver’s License Compact, which allows states to share information with one another about traffic violations. Since all of these states have similar DWI laws, your home state may take action and impose penalties for a second offense DWI conviction in New Jersey.
Contact a Camden NJ DWI Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has been charged with a second offense DWI in Camden County or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact our firm at 609-832-3202 to discuss your case. Mr. Fay will answer all of your questions and provide you with a cost-free consultation.