The drinking and driving laws in New Jersey are known as DWI (driving while intoxicated). If you violate these laws, you can face serious penalties if convicted of the crime. When you are pulled over and charged with a DWI, two different charges may apply – DWI and DWI per se. Learn about the differences in these here.
DWI vs. DWI per se Charges
DWI per pe charges apply if “the facts speak for themselves.” This means if you have a .08% or higher blood alcohol content (BAC) reading, you’re automatically considered too intoxicated to drive. You can be charged (and, potentially, convicted) based on that reading alone.You can still be charged with a DWI, however, with a lower reading and any additional evidence (like erratic driving) that leads to the conclusion you’re impaired.
Penalties for a DWI or DWI per se conviction
In practical terms, DWI and DWI per se are treated the same. If you’re convicted of a first offense, you can generally expect a fine, up to 30 days in jail, the loss of your driver’s license for up to a year and inclusion in a mandatory drunk driving prevention class.While jail time and fines are bad enough, with DWI and DWI per se convictions, you will face other penalties, too, that impact your life now and in the future. For example, once your license is reinstated, your insurance rates will increase significantly. You also must deal with the stigma of having a DUI conviction and a permanent criminal record.
Protecting your rights
Facing DWI or DWI Per Se charges is serious. If convicted, you can face jail time, lose your license, be required to pay significant fines and more. The penalties may be severe if you do not act quickly to defend yourself. Knowing your legal rights and options to defend yourself will help you protect your freedom and more.