South Jersey DWI Defense Lawyer Safeguards Drivers’ Rights

Firm aids motorists facing alcohol and drug related charges in New Jersey

An arrest for drunk driving can happen in a flash, but the negative consequences could last a long time. The Law Offices of Kelli M. Martone in Haddon Heights fights on behalf of drivers charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). In New Jersey, traffic offenses, including DWIs, are dealt with in the municipal court of the town or city where the alleged violation occurred. Attorney Kelli M. Martone is a proven litigator who is familiar with the local courts throughout Camden and Burlington counties and uses that knowledge to benefit clients.

Haddon Heights attorney advocates for clients accused of traffic offenses

Conviction of a DWI offense or another type of moving violation — such as speeding, driving while suspended, reckless driving or careless driving — can have both immediate and long-lasting effects, including:

  • Fines
  • License points
  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Increased insurance costs
  • Jail time

Many people incorrectly assume that simply paying a ticket when they have the option to do so is the best choice. It may in reality be a very bad decision for them. Consulting with a skillful South Jersey traffic defense lawyer can give you an informed perspective on whether you should contest the charge against you.

Knowledgeable litigator discusses penalties for DWI offenses in New Jersey

A driver may be considered legally drunk in New Jersey if their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or greater. However, someone whose ability to operate a vehicle is impaired can be convicted even if their BAC does not reach that level. Likewise, a motorist under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-forming drug can be charged with DWI. The penalties for drunk or drug-impaired driving include:

  • First offense — A first offender must pay a fine of up to $500 and could be incarcerated for as many as 30 days. Even someone with a clean record is subject to harsh penalties if they were extremely intoxicated, meaning a BAC of .15 percent or higher. In these more severe cases, the driver will be required to install an ignition interlock device on their car.
  • Second offense — After a second DWI, a fine can run between $500 and $1,000 and the driver has to spend at least 48 hours in jail.
  • Third offense — Someone found guilty of DWI for a third time faces six months of incarceration, an eight-year license suspension and a fine of $1,000.

Even if your test results or demeanor indicated that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you still have legal options. My firm examines every aspect of the law enforcement process and if the police did not have proper grounds to make the stop or arrest, the evidence against you might be thrown out. Problems can also occur during the test administration and analysis process. Sloppy handling of evidence, poor records or giving a test under improper circumstances could support a dismissal of charges or an acquittal.

Established firm advises on potential consequences of breathalyzer refusal

Anyone who operates a vehicle on a New Jersey road is deemed to have agreed to submit to a breathalyzer intoxication test. Refusal to take the test is punished even if the motorist is not actually drunk, as long as the officer has probable cause to make a DWI arrest and informs the driver of the potential consequences of refusal. The first time a driver refuses, he or she will lose their driving privileges for at least seven months, be forced to pay a fine and be hit with a significant auto insurance surcharge. This is not a criminal law penalty, so some traditional defenses don’t apply. If you did not submit to a breathalyzer, I can review whether the police had proper grounds to impose the test requirement.

Attorney explains special rules regarding underage drivers and passengers

New Jersey has special drunk driving provisions relating to young people. Drunk drivers who operate a vehicle while someone 17 years of age or younger is a passenger in their care face prosecution for a disorderly person offense in addition to their DWI charge. Youthful drivers also are subjected to a zero tolerance standard when it comes to consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Any trace of alcohol that is detected, even a .01 BAC reading, triggers a license suspension, community service and mandatory enrollment in a safe-driving course.

Contact an aggressive South Jersey DWI defense lawyer for a consultation

The Law Offices of Kelli M. Martone in Haddon Heights advocates on behalf of New Jersey motorists who have been charged with DWI offenses. Please call 856-432-4587 or contact me online to discuss your case.