Can a DWI Result in Criminal Charges?Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is always a serious charge, and it’s usually associated with driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above a certain level. A charge of DWI in New Jersey is not a criminal charge but is, instead, a traffic offense that can still result in significant fines and even jail time. But things get more complicated from there.

How It Works in New Jersey

All DWI convictions in New Jersey are traffic offenses, but this can be complicated by other factors such as driving while one’s license is suspended (DWLS), which is a separate motor vehicle offense that can incur penalties such as fines, revocation of your vehicle registration, and jail time. Under certain circumstances, a DWLS can result in a criminal charge in New Jersey – this can occur if you are charged with a DWLS while you are already subject to a previous license suspension that stems from a DWI conviction or a refusal to submit to breath testing. The charge can be identified via different categories:

  • Driving while ability impaired by alcohol;
  • Driving while intoxicated by alcohol; and
  • Driving while ability impaired by drugs.

Although driving while intoxicated per se is identified as driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, there is also a category known as aggravated driving while intoxicated that includes mitigating circumstances:

  • Driving with a BAC of .18 percent or higher; or
  • Driving with a child under age 15 in the vehicle.

Different States: Different Laws

Things can work very differently in different states, and this is especially true of our New York neighbor. New York usually classifies aggravated DWI as a misdemeanor, but if you’ve had a prior conviction for DWI, aggravated DWI, vehicular assault, or certain other offenses in the past 10 years, you can be charged with a felony in New York.

It’s a complex issue, and if you’ve been charged with a DWI in New Jersey or New York, you should seek experienced legal counsel.

If You’re Facing a DWI Charge in New Jersey, call 732-238-8686 Today for More Information

If you or someone you care about is facing a DWI charge, David C. Barry, Attorney at Law can help. Attorney David C. Barry knows that the stakes are too high to leave to chance, and he strongly recommends that you retain a lawyer with expertise in defending DWI charges. David can help you understand your rights and options, guide you through the court proceedings, and coordinate your comprehensive defense. If you need a skilled legal advocate, call David today at 732-238-8686.