By Peter H. Lederman, Esq.
There are many reasons why a Defendant should retain an attorney who will provide effective representation when a Defendant has been charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey.
Obviously, there are thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges which must be paid upon conviction. The DWI insurance surcharge alone totals $3,000 to $3,500.
There are also mandatory suspensions of driving privileges that range from 90 days for first offense to 10 years for third and subsequent violations.
While jail is discretionary for first and second offenses, a sentence of 180 days imprisonment is mandatory for third and subsequent offenses.
A conviction for DWI most probably will have also serious consequences regarding vehicle insurance.
Other penalties include mandatory participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Program (IDRP), community service and possible suspension of registration privileges or installation of an interlock system.
Beyond these consequences, there are many collateral consequences which include loss of commercial driver’s license (CDL) privileges, loss of vanity plates and inability to enter certain foreign countries. Canada, for example, will not allow entry into that country for a period of time after a conviction of DWI.
Some Defendants plead guilty to first offenses without realizing that subsequent violations require penalties which are much more severe. DWI convictions can also effect possible employment even where driving may not be involved.