NJ Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Defense Lawyers 

     New Jersey's DUI law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, not only covers all drunk driving, but also any impairment caused by being under the influence of drugs.  This includes all drugs, illegal and prescription which may affect your ability to drive.

     A conviction can result in major fines, affects certain professional licenses as well as your drivers license for possibly years, and can even end you up in jail.  As such it is important to keep yourself safe from these charges.  The law offices of Avery & Avery specialize in DUI / DWI defense, having practiced for over 40 years, as defense counsel, municipal prosecutor, and Municipal Court Judge, with among the highest success rates in New Jersey.  For a free  initial consultation, please call 201-943-2445.  We regularly defense clients in all New Jersey municipalities in Bergen County, Hudson County, Passaic County, and Morris County, as well as the Central Municipal Courts and the Palisades Interstate Parkway.

What are the Penalties?

The possible penalties depend on the level of intoxication as well as if there are any prior offenses.

1st Offense, Minor Intoxication:

  • $250-$400 Fine + Assessments
  • 12-48 Hours in IDRC (Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center)
  • Possible Ignition Interlock Device on Your Vehicle
  • 3 Month Driver’s License Suspension
  • Up to 30 days in Jail

1st Offense, Highly Intoxicated:

  • $300-$500 Fine + Assessments
  • 12-48 Hours in IDRC
  • Possible Ignition Interlock Device on Your Vehicle
  • 7-12 Month Driver’s License Suspension
  • Up to 30 Days in Jail

2nd Offense:

  • $500-$1000 Fine + Assessments
  • 30 Days Community Service
  • 24 Month Driver’s License Suspension
  • Minimum 2 Days in Jail and up to 90 Days
  • Screening and Evaluation by the IDRC
  • Installation of Ignition Interlock Device for 1-3 Years

3rd or Subsequent Offense :

  • $1000 Fine + Assessments
  • Possible Community Service
  • 10 Year Driver’s License Suspension
  • Minimum 180 Days in Jail
  • Screening and Evaluation by the IDRC
  • Installation of Ignition Interlock Device for 1-3 Years

In addition to the above, for any Drug  DUI, New Jersey will assess a surcharge against you for $1,000 for each of the following three years.

Most often our clients have been given numerous tickets in addition to their DWI summons.  These are usually not as dangerous as the DWI itself, but may involve significant motor vehicle points, and we have great success completely eliminating most, if not all, of these 'extras' and avoid motor vehicle points.  Although with a DUI, there are no motor vehicle points assessed against you, there will be insurance points which may greatly affect your insurance rate.  

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Can I win my case?  Do I need a Lawyer?

     The complex nature of these cases means it is best to hire an expert in DUI law.  There can be numerous defenses to all aspects of drunk driving cases, including lack of probable cause and hundreds of technical defenses, which, when properly used may eliminate the State's case and result in significantly reduced fines and suspensions and or an acquittal.  

I refused to take the breathalyzer (alcotest), what now?

     For the full penalties for refusal click here.  New Jersey has an implied consent law, under this statute you are required to submit to breath testing if suspected of drunk driving.  If you refuse to take the test you will be given a separate summons with additional fines and license suspension.  This ticket presumptively assumes you guilty of drunk driving.  There are several old and some very new techniques to defeat these charges in some cases.  For more information call 201-943-2445.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the IDRC?

     The Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) is a program designed to educate about and deterr drunk driving.  You must complete this program before your license may be reinstated.  For more information see here.

What is an ignition interlock?

     An ignition interlock is a device that is attached to your car and prevents it from starting if you have a BAC over .05, measured by its internal breathalyzer.  For more information click here.

I was charged with DUI in a School Zone, what does that mean?

     Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g), there are significantly enhanced penalties if you are caught drunk driving in a school zone.  It does not matter what time of day it is or whether children are present.  The penalties for a first offense are as follows:

  • $500-$800 fine
  • 12-24 month driver’s license suspension
  • Possible 60 days in jail

     These penalties are in addition to the other penalties for your separate DUI or Refusal tickets.  There are more severe penalties for repeat school zone offenders.  For a full list see section G of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, here.

What drugs can I be convicted for being under the influence of?

In NJ, any drug that may impair your ability to drive may sustain a  DUI conviction.  These include all illicit drugs, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin, LSD, etc, as well as any prescription drug which may impair your ability to drive.

What is the IDRC?

     The Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) is a program designed to educate about and deter drunk driving.  You must complete this program before your license may be reinstated.  For more information see here.

What is a Drug Recognition Expert?

In all Driving under the Influence (DUI) of drugs cases, except marijuana, the police must have you evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).  These are specially trained police officers who may recognize the symptoms of drug intoxication.  Their reports are used in lieu of a breathalyzer test.  

In Marijauna cases, given its prevalence in society, the court allows the testimony of normally trained police officers to prove guilt of driving under the influence of pot.

Should I take the field sobriety tests?

         Unlike the implied consent law regarding the alcotest / breathalyzer which require you to supply breath samples, you are not required to take part in field sobriety tests.  The police use these tests only to accumulate evidence to convict you, they are not for your benefit.  We encourage clients unless completely confident in their ability to politely refuse the tests.  

Is there any difference between DUI and DWI?

         The names are slightly different, Driving under the Influence (DWI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), but they cannote the same thing.  In New Jersey, they both refer to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, which is the drunk driving / impaired driving statute.

I have a prior DUI / DWI in another state, will this count as a second offense or third offense?

         Depending on which state you were convicted in and what their drunk driving law is, it may or may not.  Generally if you were caught drinking in another state with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over .08, your prior conviction will count towards enhanced penalties.  There are fairly common situations however in which we can have your out of state DUI conviction not count for purposes in NJ.

I was completely stoned, is the case over?

         In some situations the police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  Even in these situations where the defendant was falling over drunk, the case can be thrown out if there was no probable cause for the initial motor vehicle stop.  Even if there are no defenses, the Attorney's of Avery & Avery, still help clients by having most other charges thrown out and reducing penalties to the minimums, which for a first offender could mean the difference between a 7 month license suspension and a several year suspension depending on the circumstances.

I barely drank or was sober but the machine gave me a high reading, is there anything I can do?

         This is an unfortunate situation which happens more frequently than one might think.  These cases often require bringing in an expert to testify as to the machines malfunction, possibly allowing the charges to be dropped.  Additionally even with a high reading you may still have various defenses which only an experienced DUI Defense Lawyer would recognize.

Is there anyway around jail time if convicted?

         In most situations it is possible to avoid jail time completely.  In others there are a few methods usable to avoid the harshest consequences of jail such as the loss of a job.  These include time served only at night or on weekends, among others.  These options are all at the discretion of the judge and must be argued for by your lawyer.

What do I tell the police? 

         We give the same answer to all clients regarding all criminal charges, say nothing!  Until you talk to your NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer.

How will my DUI charge affect my immigration status?

         This is not a simple question.  Depending on what your status is, and what your charges are, there can be vast consequences including deportation from the United States.  Generally a conviction under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, is not considered as a removeable offense.  However under certain aggravating circumstances such as if you were driving on the revoked list, as well as several others, a NJ conviction for DUI could affect your immigration status.

I have been caught on this before is there anyway around the additional penalties?

         If your prior DUI was more than 10 years prior your penalties will be stepped down.  This means if it is your second DUI but your first one was 11 years ago, it will count as a first offense for sentencing purposes.  Also if you were indigent and without an attorney during your first DUI conviction you may qualify to have your sentence reduced.

It was in a school zone how does that affect the case?

         School zone cases present the strictest penalties under New Jersey's DUI law.  As such it is even more urgent to be represented by an experienced Drunk Driving Attorney if you have been charged with a school zone offense.  The additional penalties include:   

  • For a first offense mandatory 1 year and up to 2 years loss of license, a large fine, and possible 60 days in jail.  
  • A second offense includes a large fine, 60 days community service, a minimum of 4 days in prison but up to 6 months, and a 4 year license suspension.  
  • A third offense in a school zone shall result in a large fine, 6 months in jail, and a 20 year license suspension.  

They found marijuana in the car, what happens?

         For a full discussion on NJ Marijuana laws, see here.These cases are just like any other weed possession case.  The penalties remain the same, as does the possible 2 year suspension of drivers license.  Posession of pot in a motor vehicle opens many avenues of possible defense however.  There are many possible defects in the way the police handled the case that could result in suppression of evdience against you.  To determine if this is a possibility, please contact one of our lawyers at 201-943-2445.

What happens with a DUI checkpoint?

         DUI checkpoints are a common device used by the police to catch drunk drivers.  NJ provides several protections against unlawful police checkpoints.  The police must comply with certain procedures to ensure the stops lawfulness.  If they have not complied with these procedures, any evidence collected may be excluded from prosecution.

What is the IDRC?

      The Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) is a program designed to educate about and deter drunk driving.  You must complete this program before your license may be reinstated.  For more information see here.

What is an ignition interlock?

      An ignition interlock is a device that is attached to your car and prevents it from starting if you have a BAC over .05, measured by its internal breathalyzer.  For more information click here.

What is a Drug Recognition Expert?

      In all Driving under the Influence (DUI) of drugs cases, except marijuana, the police must have you evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).  These are specially trained police officers who may recognize the symptoms of drug intoxication.  Their reports are used in lieu of a breathalyzer test.  

In Marijauna cases, given its prevalence in society, the court allows the testimony of normally trained police officers to prove guilt of driving under the influence of pot.

Does New Jersey have provisional or work licenses if convicted for a Drunk Driving?

     Unlike States like New York, New Jersey does not have any provisional or work licenses for those whose licenses are suspended due to a DUI / DWI conviction.  There are been attempts to make this the case, but it has been continually shot down by the legislature.  The best option is to hire an experienced NJ drunk driving defense lawyer and avoid the conviction in the first place.

     If you have an out of state license to begin with, rather than a NJ license, you may be able to obtain such a license at the mercy of those States.  You will, however, be barred from driving in NJ even if you can obtain a provisional license from that other state.


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