Passaic County DWI Offenses Lawyers

Passaic County DWI / DUI / Drunk Driving Defense Lawyers

The laws in Passaic County and the rest of New Jersey regarding driving while intoxicated, impaired, or under the influence are among the strictest in the United States. In fact, the law prohibits reducing a DWI charge to a lesser offense, meaning a first conviction could net you up to 30 days in jail, hundreds of dollars in fines, a loss of your driving privileges for 90 days, and additional long-lasting consequences.

Having served as both New Jersey prosecutors and public defenders, the legal team at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall understands the state’s DWI laws well. If you’ve been charged with a drunk driving offense in Little Falls, Passaic, Paterson, Clifton, Bloomingdale, Totowa, Woodland Park, or another Passaic County municipality, trust our Passaic County DWI defense lawyers to seek the best possible results in your case.

We not only know the law, we know the technology. Several of our drunk driving defense attorneys are certified to operate and maintain New Jersey’s official breath test machine, the Draeger Alcotest 7110 MKIIIC alcohol breath test instrument. Our firm owns one of the machines to use when preparing our cases.

Several of our drunk driving defense lawyers also certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), which is the only way to prove a driver is impaired without evidence such as breath readings or blood tests. Some of our DWI defense attorneys also are instructors in the administration of the SFST.

If you’d like to learn more about our qualifications and the resources we can devote to your Passaic County drunk driving defense, contact us through our online form or call our Wayne office today. We’ll set up an initial free consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyers right away.

What Is a DWI Offense in Passaic County?

It is illegal in New Jersey and elsewhere in the United States to drive while intoxicated or “being under the influence,” which the courts define as having a “substantial deterioration or diminution of the mental faculties or physical capabilities of a person” because of ingesting drugs or alcohol.

New Jersey law states that an adult over age 21 is intoxicated with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent. A person younger than the state’s legal drinking age of 21 can be found guilty of DWI with any detectible amount of alcohol in their blood.

State law also prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a hallucinogenic, a narcotic, or other habit-producing drug. New Jersey commonly refers to impaired driving based on the use of drugs as a DUI, or driving under the influence of drugs (DUI).

Drunk Driving Penalties in Passaic County

New Jersey’s penalties for violating its drunk driving laws grow more severe with repeat offenses. Here’s a short breakdown of drunk driving offenses in Passaic County and the punishment that can result for each:

  • If convicted of a First Offense with a BAC of 0.08 to 0.09 percent:
    • Up to 30 days in the Passaic County Jail
    • A fine of $250 to $400
    • A driver’s license suspension for 90 days
    • Two 6-hour classes over two consecutive days at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • If convicted of a First Offense with a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher:
    • Up to 30 days in the Passaic County Jail
    • A fine of $300 to $500
    • A driver’s license suspension for seven to 12 months
    • Two 6-hour classes over two consecutive days at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
    • An annual insurance surcharge penalty of $1,000 each for three years
  • If convicted of a Second Offense, regardless of the BAC:
    • Held for 2 to 90 days in the Passaic County Jail
    • A fine of $500 to $1,000
    • A driver’s license suspension for two years
    • A detainment of 48 consecutive hours in a regional Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
    • An annual insurance surcharge penalty of $1,000 each for three years
    • The installation of an ignition interlock device for one to three years after regaining driving privileges
  • If convicted of a Third Offense, regardless of the BAC:
    • 180 days in the Passaic County Jail
    • A $1,000 fine
    • A driver’s license suspension of 10 years
    • Detainment in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program
    • An annual insurance surcharge penalty of $1,000 each for three years
    • The installation of an ignition interlock device for one to three years after regaining driving privileges
    • A fee determined by the court and paid to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center

In addition to those penalties, any DWI or DUI conviction also requires:

  • A Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee of $50
  • A Safe and Secure Community Program fee of $75
  • An Intoxicated Driving Program fee of $100
  • A Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge of $100
  • A Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee of $100

A judge may also revoke a defendant’s vehicle registration.

Penalties increase if a DWI or DUI occurred in a school crossing or a school zone.

In addition, if you’re a parent or guardian convicted of driving while intoxicated with a passenger who is 17 or younger, you’ll also be found guilty of a disorderly persons offense. For that alone, you’ll lose driving privileges for up to six months and be required to perform up to five days of community service.

Our Response Your Passaic County Drunk / Drugged Driving Charge

The Law Offices of John F. Marshall believe that defendants have a right to and deserve a strong and dedicated legal defense that seeks the best available resolution for them. We not only want to hear what occurred from your perspective but to review the police report and any other available evidence against you.

For a conviction in a Passaic County drunk driving or drugged driving case, prosecutors must demonstrate two elements:

  • Proof of operation of the motor vehicle. This is customarily established through a law enforcement officer seeing the defendant operate the vehicle, or circumstantial evidence indicating that the person was operating or intended to operate the vehicle — for instance, if the keys were in the ignition or that the engine was running.
  • Proof of intoxication (being under the influence). This is where the Draeger Alcotest 7110 MKIIIC comes in as the state’s official mechanism for testing breath samples in such cases. If police cannot establish a breath or blood sample, they may attempt to establish intoxication through SFST, also referred to as psycho-physical testing.

We can explore whether any field sobriety test was administered and interpreted properly. We’ll also question:

  • The probable cause or reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop
  • The probable cause to believe you were intoxicated
  • Whether the administration of the Draeger Alcotest was improper or untimely
  • Whether the Draeger Alcotest has been properly inspected and certified
  • Whether there was an illegal search or seizure to draw your blood to test the alcohol or drug content
  • Whether there was a failure to advise you of your Miranda rights against self-incrimination

If a conviction cannot be avoided, our Passaic County criminal defense attorneys will work to have any blood or urine test results excluded or reduced so that you receive the minimum possible punishment. We’ll also negotiate with the court regarding any prior convictions you may have.

Contact Our Passaic County DWI Lawyers Now

The Law Offices of John F. Marshall recognizes that people can and do make mistakes. Although drunk or impaired driving can cause devastating injuries or death, we also believe in giving people an opportunity not to have a mistake limit their livelihood and future, especially when there are no injuries or little property damage.

Contact the Law Offices of John F. Marshall today to learn how we’ll put our 100 combined years of legal experience to work for you. Visit our Wayne office at 73 Mountainview Blvd., or call us to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.