Piscataway NJ School Zone DWI Lawyers
While no one would debate that a DWI violation is bad enough, the situation is even more severe if the charge involves driving in a Piscataway Township school zone. A school zone DWI offense carries enhanced penalties that apply on top of those which are triggered under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. The escalation in the consequences that apply when someone commits DWI in a school zone stems from the need to provide heightened protection of children. If you have been charged with a school zone DWI in Piscataway, you are facing severe penalties if you are convicted. This is a primary reason why you should contact the Piscataway DWI attorneys at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. As what may be the largest DUI defense practice in NJ with several former DUI prosecutors on staff, our lawyers are well equipped to defend your DWI charges. To discuss your case with a member of our 100 plus year experienced defense team, call our Piscataway Office for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
All DWI offenses heard in Piscataway Municipal Court are governed by N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. This statute makes it illegal for a person to operate a vehicle while intoxicated. This means, in simpler terms, that the prosecution bears the burden of proving both that the accused operated a vehicle prior to their arrest and that they were also intoxicated at the time of their arrest. The operational element of this offense is typically proven with relative ease. The prosecution has three distinct and equally plausible routes in which they may meet their burden. The first and most obvious is where the officer directly witnessed the accused operating a vehicle prior to the arrest. This type of direct evidence may be bolstered by the second avenue, whereby the arresting officer obtains an admission from either the accused or someone else in the car that the accused was operating the vehicle prior to the arrest. The final way that the prosecution may meet their burden is where they have circumstantial evidence that the accused operated the vehicle prior to the traffic stop. This is usually the case where an officer is called to the scene of an accident. They haven’t directly witnessed the accident, but by virtue of it having happened, they can presume based on the circumstances that the accused was operating the vehicle.
Assuming the prosecution can establish operation, they must also establish intoxication. Intoxication may also be shown in one of three ways. The first is through the use of Field Sobriety Testing. Most people know these tests as the tests that ask you to state your ABCs backwards or walk a straight line, among other things. The second and more trusted way is through the use of a breathalyzer test, the Alcotest 7110. In New Jersey, the results of the Alcotest 7110 are admissible as evidence in court only if the arresting officers have followed a specific and thorough process to ensure the scientific reliability of the results. The final way, would be through the use of a blood test, however, it is of note that you cannot be forced to submit to a blood test based on recent United States Supreme Court precedent.
If after all this the prosecution is able to establish both operation and intoxication, they will be able to obtain a conviction and the results of that conviction for a school zone DWI, as stated above, are quite severe. A first offense DWI in a school zone will result in (1) a fine of between $606 and $1006; (2) a jail term of up to 60 days; and (3) suspension of driving privileges for one to two years. A second offense carries the following penalties: (1) a fine of between $1006 and $2006; (2) a jail term of 96 hours to 180 days; and (3) suspension of driving privileges for not less than 4 years. Conviction of a third offense or subsequent offenses includes penalties of: (1) a fine of $2006; (2) a jail term of 180 days; and (3) suspension of driving privileges for 20 years. All of these offenses also carry with them mandatory annual surcharges ranging from $1000 to $1500, depending on the number of prior convictions, for a period of three years.
Piscataway School Zone DWI Attorneys
Though this may paint a bleak picture, do not think that there is nothing that can be done for you. Our attorneys are certified experts in both field sobriety testing and the operation of the Alcotest 7110. If the prosecution has failed to sustain their burdens in any way, an experienced attorney is your only hope of ensuring that you receive a fair and just outcome in your case. So please call today for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys about what our firm can do for you.