New Jersey DWI FAQ’s / Frequently Asked Questions
Facts From An Experienced Cape May County DWI Defense Lawyer
I am John W. Tumelty, an Atlantic City DWI defense lawyer with 30 years of DWI experience. I am a former state prosecutor with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and former assistant county prosecutor with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
While the following list of frequently asked questions is helpful to many of my clients, I highly encourage you to contact me immediately if you or a loved one has been arrested for DWI in South Jersey. I provide free initial consultations, and I can protect your rights and defend your best interests right away.
Some of Our Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I get hardship/provisional driver’s license in New Jersey?
No, once your license is suspended in New Jersey, you will be unable to drive legally in the state until your license is restored. License suspension/revocation is a mandatory penalty with mandatory time frames, depending on how many DWI convictions one has had in the last 10 years.
- Can I avoid a license suspension/save my license after a DWI?
Yes, with the assistance and representation of an experienced attorney, you enhance your chances of getting the charges dismissed or downgraded. If you are convicted of DWI, you will lose your license.
- Why do I need a lawyer for DWI?
To save your license, an experienced DWI defense lawyer will work efficiently and effectively to attack and challenge the evidence, which can help you avoid or minimize sentencing and conviction. You need a lawyer to protect your license, job, auto insurance, freedom and livelihood. Successful defense all but requires attorney representation, and I have a high rate of success throughout the state.
- What are the costs of DWI in NJ?
Fines, fees and surcharges range from $3,700 to more than $6,100, depending on whether it is a first, second, third or subsequent offense. Surcharges are $1,000 a year for three years on first- and second-offense DWI. On a third offense, surcharges are $1,500 a year for three years.
- What is an Alcotest?
The Alcotest machine is a breath test unit, reported to be more accurate than the Breathalyzer machine. New Jersey’s police departments use the Alcotest to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Two independent and different measuring systems (an infrared optical sensor and a battery cell sensor) quantify BAC in a method that is nonsusceptible to any other substances on the breath.
- Should I refuse the breath test or field sobriety test?
You have the right to refuse the field sobriety test. I recommend that you do refuse it. If you do submit to it, I can challenge many aspects of the results of the field sobriety test. It is a subjective, unreliable and inaccurate test, and I can aggressively challenge credibility of the test during cross-examination of the arresting police officer. The breath test is mandatory. If you refuse it, you will be charged with breath test refusal, a separate charge from DWI.
- Will DWI give me a criminal record?
No, DWI is not a criminal offense in New Jersey, but you are still facing jail time and probation depending on the circumstances of your charges.
- Will I lose my auto insurance?
You might lose your insurance if you are convicted of DWI. The decision is up to your insurance provider once it evaluates your risk according to your driving record. Your premium costs will certainly go up dramatically. Cost-prohibitive auto insurance or loss of insurance might prohibit you from driving altogether.
- Do I need to tell insurance?
Your insurance provider will be notified of your complete driving record the next time your insurance is up for renewal or the next time your premium payment is due.
- Do I have to tell my employer?
No, but if your job requires that you have a current valid driver’s license, you will have to notify your employer, which could result in job loss, reduced hours and/or reduced responsibilities. Future employers might also pull your full driving record if the job you are applying for requires a valid driver’s license.
- Do I need to tell my spouse?
No, but it might be in the best interest of your marriage to tell your spouse. A DWI conviction includes mandatory driver’s license suspension, so your spouse will likely find out regardless.
- Will I be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device?
On first-offense DWI, you will face possible installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for six months to a year following license restoration on all your owned, leased and regularly operated vehicles, dependent on your BAC, driving record and other factors. Second-offense DWI includes mandatory IID installation for one to three years following license restoration.
- Can an expert witness help my defense?
An expert witness can provide your case professionally evaluated evidence, forensic analysis and perspective to challenge the results of the Alcotest, blood and urine tests, probable cause for arrest, and drug recognition analysis.
Contact My South Jersey Office Today
If you’ve been charged with a DWI, call me today at 609-390-4600 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case and your defense options. I can provide thorough preparation and aggressive challenges to the state’s evidence against you. Call me now at 609-390-4600.
I can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I have offices in Atlantic and Cape May counties, and I accept Visa and MasterCard for payment of attorney’s fees.