New Jersey DUI/DWI Defense Law Blog Important Update – New Penalties for Driving Drunk in New Jersey are Now in Effect

New Jersey DUI/DWI Defense Law Blog Important Update – New Penalties for Driving Drunk in New Jersey are Now in EffectAs previously reported on the Edward M Janzekovich law blog, a new drunk driving law was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Murphy earlier this year. On December 1, 2019, the law officially went into effect.

In passing this law, New Jersey became the 34th state to pass an all-offender law – meaning it would apply to all drunk driving offenders – and joined Kentucky in passing an all-offender vehicle breathalyzer legislation. This brings significant changes in consequences for those convicted of DUI in New Jersey. The new law brings about several changes to the penalties associated with being convicted of driving under the influence.

Please note that this law will not be applied retroactively. This means that if you were arrested in November 2019 or earlier, and were charged with DUI/DWI, then the old sentencing laws and penalties will apply.

A Summary of the New Law

There has been a lot of confusion of what the new law actually says, because the legislature released several different versions of the bill as it was passed by the Senate and the Assembly.

In short, the new law essentially eliminates license suspensions for most first offenders, while requiring all motorists convicted of DWI to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles.

Specifically, the statute drastically changes the penalties for first time offenders convicted with a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading below .10%. Once convicted, these drivers will be required to keep an IID on their cars for 3 months. After that, he or she will need to blow into it every time they want to start the engine. If the driver has a BAC of 0.05% or above, the car won’t start.

First offenders with a BAC from .10% to under .15%, the IID maintenance period is seven months to one year (7-to-12 months).

Finally, first offenders with a BAC over 0.15% can still receive a license suspension of 4-6 months and must install an interlock for an additional 9-to-15 months under the new law.

A second offense exposes the driver to a license suspension of up to two years and requires interlocks for 2-4 years.

For all convicted drivers, his or her license is suspended until he or she can prove an IID has been installed.

The Actual Text of the New Law

The two sections of the law that have received the most important changes are N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (“Driving While Intoxicated”) and N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.17 (“Ignition Interlock Device as an Additional Penalty”). For your benefit, the relevant sections of the law, effective December 1, 2019, are as follows:

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50
Driving while intoxicated

(a) A person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood or permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle the person owns or which is in the person’s custody or control or permits another to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant’s blood shall be subject:

  1. For the first offense:
    • if the person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10%, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or the person permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control or permits another person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10% to operate a motor vehicle, to a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $400 and a period of detainment of not less than 12 hours nor more than 48 hours spent during two consecutive days of not less than six hours each day and served as prescribed by the program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers established under subsection (f) of this section and, in the discretion of the court, a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days . In addition, the court shall order the person to forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State until the person installs an ignition interlock device in one motor vehicle the person owns, leases, or principally operates, whichever the person most often operates, for the purpose of complying with the provisions of P.L.1999, c. 417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.);

    • if the person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.10% or higher, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or the person permits another person who is under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control, or permits another person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10% or more to operate a motor vehicle, to a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $500 and a period of detainment of not less than 12 hours nor more than 48 hours spent during two consecutive days of not less than six hours each day and served as prescribed by the program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers established under subsection (f) of this section and, in the discretion of the court, a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days ;

      in the case of a person who is convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug or permitting another person who is under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by the person or under the person’s custody or control, the person shall forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of not less than seven months nor more than one year;
      in the case of a person whose blood alcohol concentration is 0.10% or higher but less than 0.15%, the person shall forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State until the person installs an ignition interlock device in one motor vehicle the person owns, leases, or principally operates, whichever the person most often operates, for the purpose of complying with the provisions of P.L.1999, c. 417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.);

      in the case of a person whose blood alcohol concentration is 0.15% or higher, the person shall forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of not less than four months or more than six months following installation of an ignition interlock device in one motor vehicle the person owns, leases, or principally operates, whichever the person most often operates, for the purpose of complying with the provisions of P.L.1999, c. 417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.);

    • (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2019, c. 248)

  2. For a second violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, and shall be ordered by the court to perform community service for a period of 30 days, which shall be of such form and on terms the court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 48 consecutive hours, which shall not be suspended or served on probation, or more than 90 days, and shall forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of not less than one year or more than two years upon conviction.

    After the expiration of the license forfeiture period, the person may make application to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for a license to operate a motor vehicle, which application may be granted at the discretion of the chief administrator, consistent with subsection (b) of this section. For a second violation, a person also shall be required to install an ignition interlock device under the provisions of P.L.1999, c. 417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.).

  3. For a third or subsequent violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of $1,000, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 180 days in a county jail or workhouse, except that the court may lower such term for each day, not exceeding 90 days, served participating in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and shall thereafter forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for eight years.

For a third or subsequent violation, a person also shall be required to install an ignition interlock device under the provisions of P.L.1999, c. 417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.).

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.17
Ignition interlock device as an additional penalty

    • Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection,

      • in sentencing a first offender under subparagraph (i) of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of R.S.39:4-50, whose blood alcohol concentration was at least 0.08% but less than 0.10%, or who was otherwise under the influence of intoxicating liquor, the court shall order, in addition to any other penalty imposed by that section, the installation of an ignition interlock device in one motor vehicle owned, leased, or principally operated by the offender , whichever the offender most often operates, which shall remain installed for three months.

      • In sentencing a first offender under subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of R.S.39:4-50 whose blood alcohol concentration was 0.10% or higher, but less than 0.15%, the court shall order, in addition to any other penalty imposed, the installation of an ignition interlock device in one motor vehicle owned, leased, or principally operated by the offender, whichever the offender most often operates, which shall remain installed for not less than seven months or more than one year.

    • If the first offender’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.15% or higher, or the offender violated section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a), the court shall order, in addition to any other penalty imposed under R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a), the installation of an ignition interlock device in one motor vehicle owned, leased, or principally operated by the offender, whichever the offender most often operates, during and following the expiration of the period of license forfeiture imposed under those sections. In addition to installation during the period of license suspension, the device shall remain installed for not less than nine months or more than 15 months, commencing immediately upon installation of the device and the return of the offender’s driver’s license pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1999, c. 417 (C.39:4-50.18) after the required period of forfeiture has been served.

  • In sentencing a second or subsequent offender under R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a), the court shall order, in addition to any other penalty imposed by that section, the installation of an ignition interlock device in the motor vehicle principally operated by the offender during and following the expiration of the period of license forfeiture imposed under R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a). In addition to installation during the period of license forfeiture, the device shall remain installed for not less than two years or more than four years, commencing immediately upon installation of the device and the return of the offender’s driver’s license pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1999, c. 417 (C.39:4-50.18) after the required period of forfeiture has been served.

  • The court shall require that, for the duration of its order, an offender shall not drive any vehicle other than one in which an ignition interlock device has been installed pursuant to the order.

    The offender shall provide to the court information identifying the motor vehicle on which the ignition interlock is to be installed, and any other information deemed relevant by the court, including, but not limited to, the offender’s complete name, address, date of birth, eye color, and gender. An offender who does not own, lease, or operate a motor vehicle shall attest to this to the court. A violation of this provision shall constitute perjury pursuant to N.J.S.2C:28-1. An offender immediately shall notify the court of the purchase, lease, or access to operation of a motor vehicle and install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle.

    The driver’s license of an offender who attests to not owning, leasing, or operating a motor vehicle shall be forfeited for the ignition interlock installation period required pursuant to subsections a. and b. of this section.

  • Please note that many websites continue to display the old or incorrect text for the law with regard to these sections.

    No Matter How the Law Changes, NJ DUI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Is Ready to Fight for You

    If you or someone you know has been arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI or DWI, or if you have any questions about changes to the law, you can call our offices today to speak with an experienced attorney. A good lawyer can make all the difference in your situation. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey DWI Defense Blog – New Report Discusses the Rare Medical Condition Known as Auto Brewery Syndrome

New Jersey DWI Defense Blog - New Report Discusses the Rare Medical Condition Known as Auto Brewery SyndromeHere, on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we understand that you can be falsely accused of intoxicated driving – in fact, innocent people are arrested for DUI or DWI every day. There are many reasons why a police officer may suspect you have been operating a vehicle under the influence, although you are not actually drunk, high, or drugged. However, even if you have alegitimate defense for the charges against you, there is a good chance that the police, prosecutor, or court will not believe you unless you can present that defense properly.

Often, defenses involve medical conditions that cause you to exhibit intoxication-like symptoms -making it appear as if you have been drinking and driving, even when you haven’t. One such rare condition is called Auto Brewery Syndrome. Recently, the BMJ Open Gastroenterology medical journal published a new article discussing the case of a man who was arrested for DWI in North Carolina and tested on a breathalyzer at 2.5 times the legal limit, even though he had nothing to drink that day.

Regardless of the circumstances, if you or anyone you know has been charged with drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high, it is important to consult with an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. Only a good lawyer will be able to review your case and present the best defenses on your behalf. Depending on your situation, it may be possible to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

The North Carolina Man with Auto Brewery Syndrome

The BMJ Open Gastroenterology medical journal discussed the history of the subject driver: In 2014, the 46-year-old North Carolina man was arrested for DWI. He refused a breathalyzer analysis and was hospitalized. Medical providers tested his blood and found a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measured at .20%, which is 2.5 times the legal limit of .08%. The hospital personnel and police refused to believe him when he denied having anything to drink.

After hearing about a similar case in Ohio, the man began doing his own investigation and reached out to medical providers. At one point, researchers found that his body naturally generated a BAC as high as .4% or 5 times the legal limit!

After numerous tests, they discovered elevated levels of saccharomyces cerevisiae (also knownas brewer’s yeast) and s. boulardii in his system. To investigate the man’s condition further, doctors collected gastrointestinal secretions and discovered fungal cultures positive for Candida albicans and C. parapsilosis – types of fungus. Ultimately, researchers theorized that the symptoms were triggered by exposure to antibiotics, which allowed his stomach and intestine to over grow certain fungi that allowed for the auto brewery syndrome to develop. Anti-fungal treatments were successful in returning his body back to normal.

So, What is Auto Brewery Syndrome?

Auto Brewery Syndrome also known as gut fermentation syndrome. The medical condition results from an imbalance of gut microorganisms. Symptoms involve turning carbohydrates to alcohol inside your stomach and intestines – causing you to get drunk even though you have not had any alcohol. People who suffer from Auto Brewery Syndrome often become intoxicated as the result of eating too much bread or sugar.

Having a condition like this can be extremely hard to diagnose and treat. For instance, Auto Brewery Syndrome is still not well-understood by the scientific and medical community, and the BMJ Open Gastroenterology researchers believe the condition may be under-diagnosed meaning there may be more people with Auto Brewery Syndrome than currently believed.

If you or someone you know feels like he or she has been falsely accused of DUI or DWI, it will be important to reach out to an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Proving a scientific or medical defense in court will be very difficult but not impossible. A good attorney will know how to find the right evidence to support your defense. An experienced drunk driving attorney may be able to have the charges against you dropped completely.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help If You Have a Medical Defense

If you have been falsely accused of drunk driving, you need the right lawyer to help present your defense. A good lawyer will know what evidence and experts you need to win. An experienced DWI/DUI attorney can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Drugged Driving Defense Lawyer – New Research Finds Field Drug Identification Tests are Unreliable and Can Easily Result in False Positives

New Research Finds Field Drug Identification Tests are Unreliable and Can Easily Result in False PositivesHeadlines continue to pour in from all over the country with stories of drivers arrested for drugged driving after police officers find “drugs” in the vehicle – except it later turns out that the “drugs” were not really drugs at all and were misidentified by the drug tests used by officers in the field. Now research has backed up these stories, and it turns out many common items – from powdered sugar to baby formula to spearmint – can confuse the common drug tests used by many police departments in New Jersey and across the country.

While testing eventually proved that many of the people who were falsely accused were actually innocent, almost every person was arrested and spent time in jail and then plead guilty or plead to lesser charges before the test results came back. What this means is that, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, DWI, drugged driving, or driving while high and the police are relying on drugs or marijuana found in the vehicle, you need to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Only a good lawyer will be able to review the evidence against you and determine how to challenge false test results of drugs or marijuana.

The Problem with the Roadside Tests

Many police departments across the country, including in New Jersey, use unreliable field drug identification tests – sometimes call presumptive field tests – to determine quickly if a substance found by a police officer is a drug or marijuana. Many of these tests rely on chemicals called reagents which change colors in the presence of specific drugs or marijuana – except scientists have known that these tests can often result in false positives.

So, why do police departments continue to use these tests?  Because the most common tests cost as little as $2 a test, while reliable tests can cost thousands of dollars.

This is how the tests work: A police officer is given a kit that usually has a variety of different vials or capsules inside. The officer then drops a sample of the suspicious substance into a little pouch and mixes it with the compounds inside the capsule, then waits. The pouch turns a specific color to tell the officer of a positive drug test result.

But depending on the reagent and the substance tested, the test may look like it found drugs, when it really was reacting incorrectly or to something else in the substance. This is known as a false positive, and it could easily lead to an arrest.

Known and Common False Positives with Roadside Tests

Here is a list of some of the more well-known problems with the presumptive field tests:

  • Cobalt thiocyanate, which is commonly used to test for cocaine, can return a false positive in the presence of methadone, Benadryl, pain relievers, acne medication and 80 other substances including household cleaners.
  • The Duquenois-Levine test kit, which is used to identify marijuana, can return a false positive in the presence of patchouli, spearmint, and eucalyptus
  • Extreme cold or extreme heat can cause false positives in some tests
  • Some tests require multiple steps, and, if performed incorrectly, can result in a false positive.
  • Most tests require the police officer to see the color of the test substances and if they have changed.  In poor or uneven lighting, a police officer can easily misinterpret what he sees.
  • No agency regulates the manufacture or sale of the tests and no records are kept on their use.

Once a test results in a false positive, the police officer will believe that he or she has found drugs. Then, the driver will be arrested for DUI/DWI, and the driver’s innocence may not be proven for months when the test results are confirmed or rejected by actual scientists in a laboratory. In the meantime, many drivers plead guilty to the charges – especially ones who are not represented by an attorney.

Because it can take as long as 6 months before results come back, many people simply cannot wait or do not know how to prove their innocence. If you or someone you know is in this situation, the first thing you should do is reach out to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

New Jersey Drug and Marijuana Driving Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help

Many innocent people are charged every day with DUI and DWI.  If you or someone you know needs help fighting false charges against you, it is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.  A good lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Lawyer: Two New Cases Discuss Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and Drunk Driving Convictions

Drunk Driving ConvictionsHere, on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we often remind our readers that a good lawyer can often help even after a driver has been convicted of DUI or DWI. Although most drivers believe that, once you have pled guilty to drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high, the matter is final, this isn’t true. In some situations, you can actually go back and revisit a past DWI or DUI conviction and have it dismissed.

But why would you want to?

Well, the reason this is important is because when you are convicted in New Jersey of drunk driving for a second or third time (or more), penalties get worse and worse – including increased fines, longer jail time, extended loss of driving privileges, and longer periods of driving with a Ignition Interlock Device. Successfully reopening and dismissing a past conviction – referred to as Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) – can sometimes lessen penalties for pending or future convictions.

Two recent cases passed last week and earlier this year discuss PCR, especially when the former conviction occurred as the result of not having an attorney or having a bad attorney who made a mistake or missed something during your case.

State v. Patel

In State v. Patel, which was decided on August 7, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court reaffirmed that every driver who is charged with DWI in the state is guaranteed a right to retain counsel or have counsel appointed.  Therefore, if a court fails to advise a defendant of his right to get a lawyer or have one appointed, then any subsequent conviction under those circumstances could deemed illegal.

In State v. Patel, the Court allowed the defendant to challenge a 1994 DWI conviction in Piscataway Municipal Court, because, at the time, he did not have an attorney and was not properly informed of his rights.   At the time, the defendant had not been able to afford an attorney, and he certified in a sworn affidavit that he was not informed that he could obtain a public defender.  The defendant was also permitted to challenge the 1994 conviction, even though over 15 years had passed since the conviction.

Based on these details, the Supreme Court determined that the 1994 conviction should not be considered by the municipal court when sentencing Mr. Patel under new charges of drunk driving.

State v. Walton

On November 1, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case of State v. Walton.  In this case, the Court revisited State v. Patel and considered whether or not it should apply retroactively.  The Court determined that it should, particularly to cases being appealed at the time that State v. Patel was decided.  However, the Court did not address whether it would be applied retroactively in all cases – for instance, whether it would apply to appeals or requests for PCR that had already been decided.

Ultimately, both State v. Patel and State v. Walton suggest that a past conviction, even a very old one, can be challenged.  If you or someone you know has been convicted in the past for DUI or DWI, it may not be too late to challenge that conviction.  A good lawyer may be able to reopen a past case or obtain post-conviction relief so that any future penalties will be decreased or made less severe.

New Jersey Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help with Post Conviction Relief

Whether you are facing drunk driving charges now, in the future, or have already pled guilty to charges that you are now looking to appeal, a good attorney will be able to advise you of your rights. An experienced drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Defense Blog – As Cars Become Smarter, Intoxication Detection Built In?

A new program funded by the federal government – the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program – seeks to install passive blood-alcohol concentration detectors in all vehicles. Supporters of the program believe the new technology can follow in the footsteps of past proposed safety measures like seatbelts, airbags, or blind-spot detection. There is even a push to make such devices mandatory for all new cars and trucks by the 2024.

How the New Technology Would Function

Unlike an ignition interlock device, the proposed alcohol detection system would work passively, meaning, a driver would not need to blow into any type of tube in order for it to work. Instead, two combined technologies would work together: a breath-based system and a touch-based system.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Defense Blog – As Cars Become Smarter, Intoxication Detection Built In?The breath-based system would pull the driver’s exhaled breath into a vent sensor on or near the steering wheel or driver’s side door. The driver would be able to breath normally and would not need to take any additional steps. The system would also be able to target only the driver’s breath, ensuring that the breath of other passengers are not captured. If an illegal blood-alcohol content (above the legal limit of .08%) is detected, the car would be rendered inoperable.

The touch-based system would be placed on the ignition button or on the steering column and would be able to measure a person’s blood alcohol content through the skin. Again, if an illegal blood alcohol concentration is detected, the vehicle would be rendered inoperable.

Congressional Attempts to Make the Technology into Law

United States Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation last week in Congress to make this new technology a requirement for all new cars and trucks by 2024. The bill is named the “Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019,” called the RIDE Act. Part of the act will direct funding to researching the new sensors, in order to make sure the technology can work quickly and reliably with no effort on the part of the driver. The proposed law would also reserve $25 million for testing in government-owned vehicles.

Since 2008, the program has received $50 Million in funding in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety – a group of automakers.

The hope is that, by making the technology available, people will push to have it in their vehicles, similar to current technologies like back-up cameras, blind-spot monitoring, or even self-driving vehicles.

How DWI Arrests and Convictions Could Be Affected by the Technology

If the technology is able to render a vehicle inoperable, it could reduce the number of DUIs and DWIs. However, until the technology receives better testing, there will be no way to determine its accuracy.

If a driver uses a technology to test his or her own BAC, and the technology is wrong, it will not be a defense against a DWI or DUI charge. For instance, if a driver has a BAC of .08%, but the car allows him or her to drive anyway, the driver could still be pulled over, arrested, and convicted of drunk driving.

NJ DUI/DWI Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Understands How to Help

Because technology is constantly changing and improving, DUI and DWI law is constantly changing, too. If you or someone you know is arrested or charged with drunk driving, it important to consult an attorney with both a history of experience and the most up-to-date information. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

NJ DUI Defense Attorney Warns that Insurance Premiums Could Increase as Much as 250% After a DWI Conviction

Insurance Premiums Could IncreaseHere on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, we regularly discuss what can happen to you if you are convicted of drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high. Most people are aware that consequences include jail time, loss of driving privileges, and excessive fines. However, this does not even begin to approximate the real cost of a DUI. One thing many people forget is that a conviction will also result in increased car insurance premiums.

A new report summarizes just how much your annual car insurance premium can increase after a DUI or DWI. The average car insurance premium increase in the United States is 80% for the first year after a DUI, although this can vary greatly from state-to-state. For instance, the average increase is highest in Michigan, where most drivers who are convicted of drunk driving experience a 249% increase in car insurance premiums.

New Jersey Car Insurance Increases After DUI/DWI

New Jersey already has one of the highest car insurance costs in the country with an average annual premium cost of $1,520-$1,679. According to one report, New Jersey drivers pay an average of 132% more in the year immediately following the conviction. Moreover, because the DUI conviction becomes a permanent part of your driving record, the average convicted driver will continue to pay increased premium rates long after he or she is convicted.

In New Jersey, the average convicted driver will continue to pay 75% more on car insurance – or an average of $1,273 more. This means, instead of paying $1679 for car insurance, a person who was previously convicted will pay $2,951 per year for car insurance.

High Risk Drivers Can Expect to Pay Even More

Car insurance companies classify people into different risk categories in order to determine car insurance premium costs. With regard to most factors, recent history is the most important factor. Accidents, tickets, or convictions in the most recent year will count more than something that happened five years ago.

If you are already categorized as high risk, getting a DUI or DWI increase the cost of your insurance premiums even more. For instance, a driver under the age of 25 with a DUI may pay three times as much for insurance as someone older who had a DUI 10 years ago.

Some car insurance companies may even refuse to give you insurance, in which case you will be required to obtain high risk insurance elsewhere.

Auto Insurance Costs After DUI

If you live in New Jersey, you are probably already familiar with shopping for car insurance. The amount you pay for car insurance after a DUI/ DWI can vary greatly from company to company.

A recent survey found that the following popular companies offered these average insurance rates for drivers after a drunk driving conviction.

Insurance company

Avg. rate after DUI

New Jersey Manufacturers

$1,392

Progressive

$1,745

GEICO

$1,850

Allstate

$4,872

State Farm

$6,755

However, these numbers can change quickly and will vary from person to person based on many factors. The only guarantee is that your car insurance premium will go up if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated in this state. For that reason, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI or DWI, it is important to hire an experienced attorney as soon as you can.

New Jersey Drunk Driver Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help

If you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving or driving under the influence in New Jersey, it is important to speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation. You want someone who understands the real costs and penalties you are facing. A good lawyer can make all the difference. Call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

When a Drunk Driving Offense Can Turn into a Criminal Prosecution in New Jersey

When a Drunk Driving Offense Can Turn into a Criminal Prosecution in New JerseyAs a general rule, a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) will not be the basis for a criminal prosecution in the state of New Jersey. In most situations, it will be booked as a motor vehicle offense, with proceedings in municipal court, much like other traffic infractions, such as speeding or reckless driving.

There are, however, circumstances where you can face criminal prosecution as a result of an arrest for drinking and driving. New Jersey law allows prosecutors to file criminal charges against anyone booked for DWI if there was a minor in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop and arrest. The offense may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor-like offense, or may be an indictable offense, such as endangering the welfare of a child (EWC).

There is no language in the EWC statute that expressly indicates that driving under the influence with a minor in the car constitutes child endangerment, but prosecutors in New Jersey have successfully made that connection in the past.

It’s important to understand that, should you be pulled over and taken into custody for drinking and driving, while you have minors in the car, the court will have to find you guilty of drunk driving before it can find you guilty of DWI with a minor, including child endangerment. The two offenses are separate and one is contingent on the other. If you are not convicted of a DWI, you cannot be prosecuted for a DWI with a minor or for endangering the welfare of a child.

Be aware, though, that if you are detained for drunk driving and there are minors in the car, you can be charged with both DWI with a minor and with endangering the welfare of a child.

Contact Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact my office online or call me at 732-257-1137. Evening and weekend consultations are available by appointment. I accept all major credit cards.

What Happens If a Pennsylvania Resident Gets a DUI in New Jersey

Unrecognizable blurry police car lights and police force officer on night road background, crime scene, night patrolling the city.

Many Pennsylvania residents find themselves driving in New Jersey every day. As one of the six states that border Pennsylvania, New Jersey is a popular destination to travel for business, daytrips, dinner, or vacation. If a Pennsylvania resident is driving on New Jersey roads, this means that he or she will be subject to New Jersey’s driving laws during that time, including New Jersey’s strict laws against and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or marijuana.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident that is arrested, charged, or convicted of DUI or DWI in New Jersey, it is important to contact an experienced drunk driving attorney who is licensed in New Jersey and who regularly practices in New Jersey courts as soon as possible. An NJ attorney will be more familiar with the local court systems and how to defend your case, and you may be able to have the charges against you dismissed completely.

If you are convicted of drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high in the Garden State, the consequences could be severe and even result in you losing your out-of-state Pennsylvania driver’s license.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Driver Licenses Compact (DLC)

The state of Pennsylvania is technically part of the Drivers License Compact (or DLC), which was created to provide uniformity amongst participating states regarding documentation and record keeping for licenses, suspensions, convictions and other information related to driving privileges in the United States. The only states that are not members are Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Tennessee.

However, it is important to recognize that Pennsylvania includes some exceptions to its participation in the DLC – specifically that Pennsylvania does not assess points for minor offenses and will only transfer points from another state under certain conditions.

What This Means if You are a PA Resident Who Gets a DUI or DWI in New Jersey

First, if you are convicted in New Jersey, you will be subject to all penalties under New Jersey law, including fines and potential jail time. Furthermore, Pennsylvania does recognize out-of-state drunk driving convictions. This means that if you are convicted in New Jersey, the New Jersey state motor vehicle commission will report the conviction to the Pennsylvania Division of Motor Vehicles (PennDOT), and it will become a part of your driving record. If you are in a position where this could affect your job, employment prospects, parole, or other status, you will want to contact a New Jersey licensed attorney to defend against the charges before you are convicted – especially if you have a CDL or commercial driver’s license.

At the same time, Pennsylvania will not suspend a resident’s Pennsylvania driver’s license because of an out-of-state DUI conviction if it is the person’s first actual DUI or DWI conviction – meaning there are no previous DUI/DWIs including one that was resolved through the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program.

Pennsylvania will treat the out-of-state conviction as a violation of Section 3802(a)(2) prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle with the blood content of at least .08 but less than .10. Therefore, it is possible that you could lose your driving privileges on New Jersey roads under New Jersey’s laws, but still be allowed to drive elsewhere under your Pennsylvania license.

Nonetheless, if you are convicted in New Jersey (or another state), it is important that you divulge this information if you ever apply or re-apply for a Pennsylvania driver’s license. Failure to answer license application questions truthfully could result in your license being canceled, suspended, or otherwise voided.

New Jersey DUI Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Residents from Another State who are Arrested in this State

Whether you live in New Jersey or you are just visiting, a charge for driving under the influence is a serious matter. If you or someone you know is arrested or charged with drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high, only a good defense can help get the charges dismissed. A good attorney can make a big difference. To speak with an experienced DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Statewide Drunk Driving Crackdown

A police officer holds the breath test machine for a suspect

The semi-annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement initiative begins this week, and the crackdown will last until Tuesday, September 3, 2019 – the day after Labor Day.

During the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign time-frame, which happens twice a year, police departments across the Garden State are permitted additional funding to pay officers overtime in order to better patrol New Jersey streets, roads, and highways to catch drivers who might be driving while intoxicated.  If you choose to get behind the wheel and drive drunk, drive high, or drive drugged, there is a higher chance that you will be caught and arrested from now until Labor Day is over.

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign

This year, New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety has set aside $540,000 in funds to give to 110 different law enforcement agencies around the state.  Those police departments are expected to use the money to pay extra police officers to work overtime to monitor for signs of intoxicated driving and other traffic violations.  Additionally, around 300 other police departments are expected to participate in the program, despite not receiving any additional funding.

During last year’s campaign, nearly 1,200 DUI arrests were made, 20 DUI/DWI checkpoints were established, and 6,200 overtime hours were paid to law enforcement officers on patrol.  Additional tickets were also issued for traffic violations, including nearly 5,000 additional speeding tickets, 3,200 seat belt violations, and 1,500 tickets for texting and driving.

List of Towns and Departments Receiving Additional Funding During the 2019 Summer Initiative

Between now and September 3, 2019, you can expect increased police presence from the following departments, as well as in other towns, to be on high alert for any signs of suspicious or erratic driving that could be a sign of drunk driving, drugged driving, or driving while high.

Atlantic County

  • Atlantic City Police Department
  • Egg Harbor Township Police Department
  • Galloway Police Department
  • Hamilton Police Department
  • Hammonton Police Department
  • Mullica Police Department

Bergen County

  • Bergenfield Police Department
  • Fort Lee Police Department
  • Garfield Police Department
  • Hillsdale Police Department
  • Lyndhurst Police Department
  • Mahwah Police Department
  • Maywood Police Department
  • New Milford Police Department
  • Paramus Police Department
  • Teaneck Police Department

Burlington County

  • Bordentown Township Police Department
  • Cinnaminson Police Department
  • Delran Police Department
  • Evesham Police Department
  • Medford Lakes Police Department
  • Mount Laurel Police Department
  • New Hanover Police Department
  • Palmyra Police Department
  • Riverside Police Department

Camden County

  • Camden County Police Department
  • Gloucester Township Police Department
  • Haddon Heights Police Department
  • Pennsauken Police Department
  • Pine Hill Police Department
  • Stratford Police Department

Cape May County

  • Lower Township Police Department
  • Middle Township Police Department
  • North Wildwood Police Department

Cumberland County

  • Bridgeton Police Department
  • Vineland Police Department

Essex County

  • Bloomfield Police Department
  • Essex County Sheriff’s Department

Gloucester County

  • Deptford Police Department
  • East Greenwich Police Department
  • Elk Police Department
  • Glassboro Police Department
  • Greenwich Police Department
  • Harrison Police Department
  • Logan Police Department
  • Mantua Police Department
  • Monroe Police Department
  • Pitman Police Department
  • Rowan University
  • Washington Police Department
  • Westville Police Department
  • Woolwich Police Department

Hudson County

  • Guttenberg Police Department
  • Hoboken Police Department
  • Hudson County Sheriff’s Department
  • Jersey City Police Department
  • Kearny Police Department
  • Union City Police Department

Hunterdon County

  • Clinton Police Department
  • Lebanon Police Department
  • West Amwell Police Department

Mercer County

  • Ewing Police Department
  • Hamilton Police Department
  • Hightstown Police Department
  • Trenton Police Department

Middlesex County

  • Dunellen Police Department
  • Edison Police Department
  • Monroe Police Department
  • North Brunswick Police Department
  • Old Bridge Police Department
  • Sayreville Police Department

Monmouth County

  • Allentown Police Department
  • Brielle Police Department
  • Eatontown Police Department
  • Howell Police Department
  • Middletown Police Department

Morris County

  • Chester Township Police Department
  • Hanover Police Department
  • Jefferson Police Department
  • Morris County Park Police
  • Morristown Police Department
  • Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department
  • Rockaway Borough Police Department
  • Rockaway Township Police Department

Ocean County

  • Berkeley Police Department
  • Jackson Police Department
  • Seaside Heights Police Department

Passaic County

  • Bloomingdale Police Department
  • Clifton Police Department
  • City of Passaic Police Department
  • Passaic County Sheriff’s Department
  • Paterson Police Department
  • Pompton Lakes Police Department
  • Woodland Park Police Department

Salem County

  • Carneys Point Police Department

Somerset County

  • Bedminster Police Department
  • Branchburg Police Department
  • Green Brook Police Department
  • Hillsborough Police Department
  • Manville Police Department
  • Montgomery Police Department
  • Somerville Police Department
  • South Bound Brook Police Department
  • Warren Police Department

Sussex County

  • Franklin Borough Police Department
  • Hopatcong Police Department
  • Sparta Police Department
  • Vernon Police Department

Union County

  • Linden Police Department
  • Union Township Police Department

Warren County

  • Hackettstown Police Department

New Jersey DUI / DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Is Ready to Help

Whether it’s a holiday or any other day, there’s not good time to be pulled over for drunk driving.  But if you or someone you know IS arrested, an experienced attorney should be the first person you call. A good lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

Anonymous 911 Calls and Tips Can Be the Basis for a DWI Car Stop

Person driving and making a phone callYou swerve around a curve just a little and someone anonymously reports to the police that you are driving recklessly or dangerously. All of a sudden, you are pulled over by a police officer who as far as you know, did not see you violate any traffic laws. You are subsequently given field sobriety tests, or your car is searched. Before you know it, you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or possession of CDS. Is this legal in New Jersey? Unfortunately, yes.

Legal Basis for Initial Stop

The general rule is that a police officer must have a legal reason to stop your vehicle.  For the majority of drivers who are eventually charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the driver is not originally pulled over for drunk driving.  Usually, the driver is pulled over for another reason – some type of traffic violation or breaking a motor vehicle code law – such as speeding, a broken headlight or taillight, swerving over the double yellow lines in the middle of the road, or having an expired license.

A police officer must have at least a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime or traffic violation happened to allow for the stop until the officer confirms or dispels the suspicion.  This is lower than the standard needed to arrest a driver for DUI/DWI and ask them to submit to a breathalyzer test – known as “probable cause.” It is not unusual for a stop based on “reasonable suspicion” to turn into “probable cause.”  If the initial stop is not sufficient to meet the standard of “reasonable suspicion,” a good lawyer may be able to challenge the reason for the stop and have the entire DWI or DUI case thrown out.

The best way to avoid getting pulled over in the first place is to obey all traffic laws and never drive with an expired license of registration.  If a driver does something obvious, like speeds or runs a red light, then it will be difficult to challenge the reason for the initial stop that could eventually lead to an arrest for drunk driving.  The one big exception to this rule is that police officers are permitted to randomly stop vehicles at established DUI checkpoints, which we have previously discussed here at the Edward M. Janzekovich Law Blog.

Anonymous Tip is Sufficient for a Stop

When it comes to anonymous tips, the situation is a little bit different because the police officer did not actually observe the driver do anything wrong such as drive recklessly or drive carelessly.  Nonetheless, both New Jersey courts and the Supreme Court have found that a police officer can pull a car over – conduct an investigative stop – based upon an anonymous tip through the 9-1-1 system. Specifically, in the case of State v. Golotta, the New Jersey Supreme Court explained that such an anonymous call is reliable enough to permit a legal stop because the person who calls 911 places his anonymity at risk by virtue of using the 9-1-1 system, which can be traced.  A 911 tip call is reliable, as long as the caller provides enough information, such as an adequate description of the vehicle, the road and direction it is going, and other similar information, so that the officer, and the court, can be sure that the vehicle stopped is the same as the one identified by the caller.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help

Importantly, just because a caller gives this information, it doesn’t mean that the caller’s information is correct. A DUI/DWI attorney with the knowledge and experience to review the evidence in a case may be able to challenge the anonymous call or take every step to ensure that what was reported and said in the 911 call was sufficient for the police to stop the vehicle. As previously discussed, if the initial stop is illegal, a court may be required to dismiss the entire case.  For this reason, we always recommend that you contact a knowledgeable drunk driving lawyer as soon as you or someone you know is pulled over or charged with driving while intoxicated.

New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Help Drivers Facing DUI/DWI Charges

A charge for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in serious and complicated penalties that affect you and your loved ones. An experienced drunk driving attorney will be able to take the time, sit down with you and review your case, explain what consequences you are facing, and any possible defenses you may have.  If you are charged with DUI/DWI in New Jersey, a good lawyer can make all the difference.   To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.