Statistics clearly show that the probability of a motorist committing a second offense for driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) are high. This is the primary explanation for so many second offense cases under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 in Mercer County. If you were arrested for DWI in Lawrence, Hamilton, Robbinsville, Princeton, Ewing or another area municipality and a conviction would be your second offense, it is certainly in your best interests to hire a lawyer skilled in drunk driving defense. The DUI defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are in a good position to serve your interests if you want to avoid a license suspension and other consequences that come with being convicted of a second offense DWI. We are former DUI prosecutors that are among a very small group in the state that hold a certification on both the Alcotest and as instructors in Field Sobriety Testing. Our attorneys have prepared this article to provide you with working knowledge concerning the penalties that you face if you fail to mount a successful defense to your charge for a second DWI offense. An attorney with the training and experience to insure that you have every chance of winning your second offense case is available for an immediate free consultation by contacting us now.Mandatory Driver’s License Suspension for a Second DWI Offense in West Windsor or Elsewhere in Mercer County
A conviction for a second offense DWI carries a mandatory loss of your license and or driving privileges in the State of New Jersey. The required period of suspension is set at 2 years leaving the judge with no discretion to sentence a defendant to a lesser or greater period of time depending on the circumstances. During that period of suspension, the defendant may not operate a motor vehicle in New Jersey for any reason. If the defendant does operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension imposed by the court, he or she will be arrested for Driving While Suspended and face mandatory a jail sentence and even the possibility of a fourth degree indictment with six months of parole ineligibility because the suspension is DWI. New Jersey law requires that defendants be informed of these consequences both orally and in writing by the sentencing judge after sentence has been imposed.
Upon a finding of guilt or guilty plea, the judge will confiscate the defendant’s driver’s license and the suspension will begin immediately. Your attorney can petition the court for a temporary license for the sole purpose of driving directly home after court, but some judges will not allow this depending on the county. If the defendant is an out-of-state driver, the DUI conviction will be reported to the defendant’s home state and they may face additional fines or penalties there. To restore your driving privileges in New Jersey you have to pay a $200 restoration fee to the DMV, even if you are an out-of-state driver.Monetary Penalties for 2nd DWI Offense
Additional fine assessments
A second offender is required to perform 30 days of community service as part of his or her drunk-driving sentence. Although the sentencing court may set the terms and conditions of the community service, the usual procedure is for the judge to refer the community service obligation to the county probation department. The probation department’s community service program will contact the defendant and arrange for the performance of his or her work obligation. If the defendant fails to comply with the community service requirement, the case will usually be referred back to the sentencing court for appropriate action. If the defendant resides in a different county or state than where the conviction took place, he can ask probation to transfer his service to his home county or state.
In New Jersey, a day of community service is considered to be six hours long. Thus, the total community service obligation is commonly considered 180 hours. Although there is no statutory time limit for completion of the community service, most probation departments will expect that the work will be performed on a regular basis and completed within one year. Often, defendants will try to make their own arrangements for the performance of community service. They will typically select non-profit organizations which are either within walking distance of their homes or accessible via public transportation. As a general rule, the county probation departments will accept these arrangements provided that the organization where the work is being performed will agree to provide periodic reports of the number of hours of community service the defendant has completed.Jail Time for a Second DWI Offense in Hamilton Township or Another Mercer County Municipality
If you are convicted of a 2nd DWI, a jail sentence will be mandatory with your penalties. The term of incarceration ranges between 2 – 90 days. The two-day term may not be suspended or served on probation. However, the law allows the judge discretion to allow the defendant to serve his jail sentence in an in-patient rehabilitation program or in the IDRC. In most cases, your defense attorney will be able to successfully argue that your jail sentence be satisfied by two days (48 hours) of IDRC. Of course, the two-day sentence is a mandatory minimum term. In certain cases, the court may wish to impose a longer jail sentence. The judge has the discretion to impose a longer sentence or straight jail depending on aggravating factors such as:
- The defendant’s driving conduct caused an accident that resulted in personal injury or substantial property damage;
- The defendant’s first offense occurred a short time prior to his or her second offense;
- The defendant had an extremely high blood alcohol concentration and engaged in extremely reckless driving conduct;
- The defendant was aggressive with the police and was charged with companion disorderly persons offenses;
- Victims of defendant’s conduct appear in court and request harsh punishment as part of the victims’ impact statement.
A second offender must satisfy the requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program. There is a per diem fee of $100 for second offender program participants. Second offenders have to serve their IDRC at a special “sleep away” regional facility where they will actually spend two full days (48 hours) taking educational classes and counseling. Moreover, most second offenders will have to complete a follow up program of up to 16 weeks for continued alcohol counseling. In the event that the defendant is not permitted to serve his or her sentence in the IDRC, the defendant must still, at some point, attend the program and complete any follow-up aftercare that the program recommends. If the defendant refuses to or fails to fully comply with his IDRC requirements, he or she will be subject to a jail sentence and an indefinite suspension of driving privileges.Ignition Interlock Device Requirements for Second Offense
For a second offense drunk driving conviction, the court is required to order the defendant to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a period of period of 1 – 3 years after the defendant’s driving privileges have been restored. During that time period, the defendant may not legally drive any motor vehicle unless it is equipped with an approved ignition interlock device. If you are found guilty of driving any vehicle without an ignition interlock device during that period, you will lose your driver’s license for an additional one year. Moreover, if someone is caught tampering with the device or has someone else blow into it to start the car they are facing a disorderly persons offense.
Every person is responsible for paying for the installation, the cost for monitoring the device, or any fees for calibration or removal of the device. If the ignition interlock device option is ordered by the court as part of the defendant’s sentence, the following administrative steps occur. First, the defendant will be ordered by the court to install an approved device on his or her motor vehicle as soon as the driver’s license suspension period of the court’s sentence has been completed. At the time of sentence, the court will also notify the DMV of the requirement for an ignition interlock device. The DVC will ultimately continue the defendant’s license suspension on an indefinite basis until the defendant provides proof that an approved device has been installed on his or her vehicles.Second Offense DWI Attorney in Princeton New Jersey
Princeton may be one of the the most picturesque communities in New Jersey but that does not mean it is immune to driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. If you are facing a second offense for DWI in this or another Mercer County municipality, the only way to avoid a two year suspension and other severe penalties is to win your case since there is no plea bargaining in a drinking and driving case. The attorneys that make up our defense team, which is one of the largest in the state, have over a century of combined experience defending second offense cases in West Windsor, Highstown, East Windsor, Hopewell or another area municipality. An attorney is ready at 609–683–8102 to provide immediate assistance.