Traffic Violations

In New Jersey, moving traffic violations carry legal consequences as well as financial implications such as increases in insurance premiums. Often, the violation you have been charged with can be reduced to a lesser violation that will not affect your insurance. The cost of hiring an attorney may be far less than the imposed fine and the financial consequences that it entails. An attorney is extremely helpful when someone is a repeat offender, because the lawyer may be able to reduce the violation to one that you have not been previously charged with or may subsequently be charged with in the future. If you have gotten a ticket which you believe may affect your insurance, or carry legal ramifications, or you believe you may have been a victim of an illegal search and seizure, call us at our office immediately.

One of the most serious traffic violations is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and/or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). DWI/DUI is a serious offense in New Jersey, as well as in every state in the United States. The Court must impose mandatory license suspensions, fines, surcharges and in certain cases, jail. The Division of Motor Vehicles must also impose a mandatory insurance surcharge from $3,000 to $3,500. A permanent record of the DWI conviction is also entered on the Drivers Abstract maintained by the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles. Penalties differ depending upon whether the offense is a first, second or subsequent offense.

We have attached relevant portions of the New Jersey statutes pertaining to Driving While Intoxicated and Operation of a Commercial Vehicle Under the Influence. Important parts of the statutes have been boldfaced and underlined. These are not the entire statutes, so please call us if you have any further questions.

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

(a) Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, 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 owned by him or in his 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:

(i) 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 and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of three months;

(ii) if the person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.10% or higher, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or the person permits another person who is under the influence of 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 and shall forthwith forfeit his 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;

(iii) For a first offense, a person also shall be subject to the provisions of P.L.1999, c. 417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.).

(2) For a second violation:

(i) a person shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00, 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 such terms as 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, nor more than 90 days, and shall forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of two years upon conviction, and, after the expiration of said period, he 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.) or shall have his registration certificate and registration plates revoked for two years under the provisions of section 2 of P.L.1995, c. 286 (C.39:3-40.1).

(3) For a third or subsequent violation:

(i) a person shall be subject to a fine of $1,000.00, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 180 days, except that the court may lower such term for each day, not exceeding 90 days, served performing community service in such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances and shall thereafter forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for 10 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.) or shall have his registration certificate and registration plates revoked for 10 years under the provisions of section 2 of P.L.1995, c. 286 (C.39:3-40.1).

Out-of-state Convictions
A conviction of a violation of a law of a substantially similar nature in another jurisdiction, regardless of whether that jurisdiction is a signatory to the Interstate Driver License Compact pursuant to P.L.1966, c. 73 (C.39:5D-1 et seq.), shall constitute a prior conviction under this subsection unless the defendant can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the conviction in the other jurisdiction was based exclusively upon a violation of a proscribed blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.08%.

Definition of Subsequent Convictions
A person who has been convicted of a previous violation of this section need not be charged as a second or subsequent offender in the complaint made against him in order to render him liable to the punishment imposed by this section on a second or subsequent offender, but if the second offense occurs more than 10 years after the first offense, the court shall treat the second conviction as a first offense for sentencing purposes and if a third offense occurs more than 10 years after the second offense, the court shall treat the third conviction as a second offense for sentencing purposes.

N.J.S.A. 39:3-10.13. Operation of Commercial Motor Vehicle While Under Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle in this State with an alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more, or while under the influence of a controlled substance.

N.J.S.A. 39:3-10.24. Consent to taking samples of breath; record of test; independent test; prohibition of use of force; refusal to submit to test; penalties

  1. A person who operates a commercial motor vehicle on a public road, street, or highway, or quasi-public area in this State, shall be deemed to have given his consent to the taking of samples of his breath for the purposes of making chemical tests to determine alcohol concentration; provided, however, that the taking of samples shall be made in accordance with the provisions of this act and at the request of a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that the person has been operating a commercial motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more.
  2. A record of the taking of such a sample, disclosing the date and time thereof, as well as the result of a chemical test, shall be made and a copy thereof, upon request, shall be furnished or made available to the person so tested.
  3. In addition to the samples taken and tests made at the direction of a police officer hereunder, the person tested shall be permitted to have such samples taken and chemical tests of his breath, urine, or blood made by a person or physician of his own selection.
  4. The police officer shall inform the person tested of his rights under subsections b. and c. of this section.
  5. No chemical test, as provided in this section, or specimen necessary thereto, may be made or taken forcibly and against physical resistance thereto by the defendant. The police officer shall, however, inform the person arrested of the consequences of refusing to submit to such test including the penalties under section 12 of this act. A standard statement, prepared by the director, shall be read by the police officer to the person.
  6. The court shall revoke for six months the right to operate any motor vehicle of any person who, after being arrested for a violation of section 5 of this act, shall refuse to submit to the chemical test provided for in this section when requested to do so, unless the refusal was in connection with a subsequent offense under this section, section 5 of this act, R.S. 39:4- 50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C. 39:4-50.4a), in which case the revocation period shall be for 2 years. In addition, a court shall impose the penalties provided in section 12 of this act.

The court shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether the arresting officer had probable cause to believe that the person had been operating or was in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle on the public highways or quasi-public areas of this State with an alcohol concentration at 0.04% or more, whether the person was placed under arrest, whether he refused to submit to the test upon request of the officer, and if these elements of the violation are not established, no conviction shall issue. In addition to any other requirements provided by law, a person whose driving privilege is revoked for refusing to submit to a chemical test shall satisfy the requirements of a program of alcohol education or rehabilitation pursuant to the provisions of R.S. 39:4-50. The revocation shall be independent of any revocation imposed by virtue of a conviction under the provisions of R.S. 39:4-50 or section 12 of this act.

In addition to imposing a revocation under this subsection, a court shall impose a fine of not less than $250 or more than $500.