New Jersey Charges for DWI while a Minor is in the Car
Union NJ DWI with a Minor Defense Lawyer
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in New Jersey is a serious crime with potentially deadly consequences and steep penalties. When reckless driving while under the influence coincides with putting a minor in danger, New Jersey criminal judges are particularly harsh in their sentences. Here, we discuss the way driving under the influence with a minor is considered by New Jersey law and the extreme penalties that can occur for those convicted in these cases.
What Are Possible Charges I Could Face If I’m Charged With a DWI While a Minor Is In The Car?
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while a minor in the car is a disorderly persons charge, a relatively minor crime on the criminal spectrum, though a serious one. According to New Jersey Statutes 39:4-50.15, there is an additional penalty for driving under the influence while a minor is in the car. A driver who is charged with a DWI with a minor passenger can face up to six months in jail, will lose their driver’s license for six months, as well as being ordered to complete community service for up to five days.
In New Jersey, the classifications of “criminal” and “misdemeanor” offenses are not formally used. Instead, what are considered criminal offenses elsewhere carry degrees in New Jersey, and the least of crimes are disorderly persons offenses. “Misdemeanor” offenses are considered disorderly persons offenses with comparable penalties. Thus, a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15 is a disorderly persons offense. Note, this charge can be accompanied by standard DWI penalties as well, and even a felony criminal charge for child endangerment.
Penalties for DWI in Addition to DUI with a Child Passenger in NJ
In New Jersey, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.08 percent. Also, you can get a DWI charge if you let someone who has been drinking operate your vehicle. In 2019, Governor Phil Murphy made changes to DWI laws to allow an alternative to revocation of the driver’s license for certain DUI offenses. In the updated law, first-time offenses are differentiated into three classes depending on the blood alcohol content they had when driving. Depending on the first offense’s class, a charged individual may install an interlock device that allows the person to maintain an amended driver’s license.
If charged with a first-offense DWI, the possible penalties are up to a month in jail, fines of up to $500, ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a minimum of 3 months or up to twelve months if the BAC is over 0.10 percent, and enrollment in an intoxication driver program. Second and third offenses, of course, carry much higher penalties, including possible months in jail, higher fines, and a lengthier period of revocation of one’s driver’s license before ignition interlock requirements.
How Can an Attorney Help If I’ve Been Charged With a DWI and a Minor Passenger?
Given the seriousness of the charge of DWI while a minor is in the car, it is essential to have the support of a skilled and experienced DWI attorney. Once a New Jersey police officer files the charges against you, the process leading to the Municipal Court date begins. This time is very important for a proper defense to be gathered with the DWI attorney’s support. A DWI charge is a serious offense, and as such, the New Jersey court system takes high priority in trying the case. A Municipal Court date will generally be secured within two to three months and you will need to appear multiple times before then.
The first step toward the court date is your initial appearance, a point at which you plead guilty or not guilty. A skilled DWI defense lawyer will not encourage you to plead guilty, though it may be intuitive to do so. So, placing yourself in the guidance and competent hands of a time-tested DWI attorney will help smooth out the process and ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.
During the pre-trial discovery process, a DWI attorney will receive specific information from the New Jersey police regarding the incident, as well as find appropriate witnesses and experts, which may be used to develop a strong defense. Finally, at the trial itself, the attorney will present evidence on your behalf. Depending on the extent of the DWI offense with a minor in the car, the outcomes of the trial supported by a driving while intoxicated or under the influence lawyer will vary, though your situation will certainly be less severe than it would be in the absence of legal support.
Are You Facing Charges for DWI with a Minor Passenger? Talk to a DWI Attorney in Cranford NJ
Having a skilled and experienced DWI attorney to help you navigate a DWI with a child case in Green Brook, Hillside, Elizabeth, Piscataway, Springfield and other communities in Union County and northern Middlesex County can make a world of a difference. At The Law Firm of Edward. S Cooper, Esq, we are here to support you and ensure that you are skillfully represented in every step. Contact us at (908) 481-4625 to set up a confidential consultation regarding your DWI with a minor present.