First offenders unquestionably represent the highest block of DWI offenses filed in Newark, Millburn, West Orange, Bloomfield and other municipal courts in Essex County. The number of individuals charged with a first offense is significant so you are not alone if you are faced with this violation. And if you are convicted, you will be subject to the same mandatory license suspension, thousands in dollars in surcharges and increased insurance costs, and other significant consequences. But you do have options and the best one we can suggest is retaining the finest DWI defense attorney you can afford. The reason you say this is because you cannot plea bargain a first offense, even a downgrade from a second tier (.10% or higher) to a first tier (.08-.099%). The way you avoid to avoid penalties is through presentation of legitimate legal issues that raise doubt with respect to the breath test or blood test readings. This is where the knowledge and experience of the attorneys are our firm, the Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver can prove so invaluable. We not only have what is probably the largest driving while intoxicated defense team in the state but also the most highly credentialed as well. We encourage you to review our qualifications and to give us a call if your objective is winning your first offense case. Our office can be reached for a free consultation at 973-710-1520.

Proving Intoxication In a First Offense Case

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is governed under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Under this law, it is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds 0.08%. A key question raised by many perspective driving while intoxicated clients is “how does the Prosecutor prove that I was intoxicated?” Intoxication can basically be established two ways. The first way is through scientific evidence such as the results of a breath test (a.k.a. breathalyzer) or blood test. If these tests are unavailable, then the second basis for proving intoxication must be utilized, namely, the results of field sobriety tests. Most of our lawyers are among the limited number in the state who are certified on the breath test. We also happen to be one of two firms in the state with its own breathalyzer (i.e. Alcotest 7110). We believe that these qualities, as well as our significant experience (e.g. most of the members of our team are former DWI prosecutors), allow us to successfully suppress scientific evidence in a much higher percentage of cases than most defense attorneys.

What are the Penalties for a First Offense DWI in New Jersey?

If you are convicted of a first offense based on a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of 0.08% to 0.099%, then you face a fine between $250 and $400, a three month license suspension and up to thirty (30) days of incarceration. If the violation is based on a BAC of 0.10% or above, then the fine is between $300-$500, the license suspension is between seven (7) months and twelve (12) months, and a jail term of up to thirty (30) days also applies. In addition, there are certain additional penalties that always apply for a first offense including a twelve (12) to forty-eight (48) hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, a $1,000 annual DMV surcharge for 3 years, and the following assessments: DWI Enforcement Fund ($200.00), Violent Crime Compensation Board Fund ($50.00), Safe Neighborhood Fund ($75.00), NJ MVC Restoration Charges ($200.00), Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Fees ($150.00), Court Costs ($33.00). An individual also faces the prospect of increased car insurance rates. A conviction for a first offense obviously has the potential to cost in excess of $10,000 so it is in your best interests to, at a very minimum, review your case with an attorney experienced in defending DWI charges.

Experienced Essex County NJ DUI Defense Attorneys

Our success rate in identifying a bona fide issue as to the validity of the breathalyzer so that the readings cannot be used is probably a lot higher than you think. Give yourself the benefit of the opportunity to speak to an attorney that is highly experienced in defending driving while intoxicated charges, including first offense cases in busy Essex County towns like Bloomfield, Newark, Fairfield, West Caldwell, Livingston, Montclair and East Orange. Initial consultations are always free so you have nothing to lose by contacting us. We can be reached any time of day at 973-710-1520.