The penalties for DWI are enhanced in New Jersey under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g) when the violation occurs within a school zone. The most significant of these penalties is a mandatory jail term. The license suspension is also more significant for driving while intoxicated in a school zone. The truth is, however, that our highly experienced DWI lawyers avoid conviction to DWI in a School Zone in Wayne, Clifton, West Milford, Hawthorne, Little Falls, Pompton Lakes, Passaic City and other courts in most cases. The following is a summary of the law in NJ for this offense. If you would like to speak to an attorney about representation or any other question, give us a call at 862-203-4070.
DWI in a School Zone Lawyers in Clifton NJ
How Is “School Zone” Defined Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g)?
School Zone is defined as any location within 1,000 feet of property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to an elementary or secondary school or school board. The enhanced penalties discussed on this page also apply to DWI committed while driving through a school crossing provided the municipality, by ordinance or resolution, has formally adopted the area as such.
Can You Be Convicted If You Didn’t Know You Were In A School Zone?
It shall not be relevant to the imposition of sentence pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection that the defendant was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or while driving through a school crossing. Nor shall it be relevant to the imposition of sentence that no juveniles were present on the school property or crossing zone at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session.
How Does the Prosecutor Prove a School Zone DWI?
To convict an individual of a School Zone DWI, the Prosecutor must prove that a DWI violation occurred under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. The elements necessary to prove this offense include proof of operation of a motor vehicle coupled with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater or ingestion of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug that rendering operation of a motor vehicle unsafe — commonly referred to as DUI. Finally, the statute can also be violated when the owner or custodian of a motor vehicle knowingly permits another who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to operate a motor vehicle for which he or she is responsible. Provided these proofs exist, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g) gives rise to a separate violation of DWI in a school zone, and a more severe set of penalties. The prosecutor proves that the violation was within 1,000 of a school zone by producing a map depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 1000 feet of the schoolhouse or other school property. If the 39:4-50(g) charge involves a school crossing instead of a classic school zone, then the prosecutor needs to present a certified copy of the resolution or ordinance designating the location as a school crossing.
What are the Penalties for a School Zone DWI?
An individual convicted of a DWI in a school zone or school crossing faces what is essentially double the penalties that would the case for a normal DWI when it comes to a first offense, second offense or third offense. For a first offense DWI in a school zone, the fine ranges from $606.00 to $1,006.00, the license suspension is between one (1) and two (2) years, and there is a mandatory jail term of sixty (60) days. The fine is $1,006.00 to $2,006.00, there is three hundred sixty (360) hours of community service, a license suspension of at least four (4) years and a jail sentence of up to one hundred eighty (180) days for a second offense of DWI in a school zone. For a third offense or more in a school zone, the fine is $2,006.00, there is a mandatory 180 day jail sentence, and a mandatory twenty (20) year suspension of driving privileges.
DUI in a School Zone Defense Attorneys in Clifton NJ
If you would like to discuss a school zone case in more detail, please feel free to contact our Clifton or Wayne office. An attorney is available around the clock to help you at 862-203-4070.