Driving while intoxicated is a very serious crime. In New Jersey, even a first-time DWI conviction can result in a license suspension, a $400 fine (or less), and a 30-day max jail sentence. However, if certain aggravated factors exist, your first-time offense could result in even harsher penalties. But what is aggravated DWI? And what are the penalties associated with it?

What Is Aggravated DWI?

Certain factors can elevate a standard DWI charge to an aggravated DWI charge. You:

  • Had a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.15 percent
  • Committed other traffic-related crimes during the DWI offense (i.e. reckless driving)
  • Caused someone’s death as a result of your DWI
  • Were previously convicted of DWI
  • Refused to take a Breathalyzer test at the scene
  • Had a minor in your car during your DWI offense
  • Caused an accident during your DWI offense
  • Traveled through a school zone or crossing while under the influence

The factors usually result in more severe penalties.

Penalties for Aggravated DWI Are Harsh

An aggravated DWI charge can result in the following:

  • Mandatory jail sentence
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year
  • Fine that ranges between $300 to $500
  • Completion of twelve to forty-eight hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • The installation of an ignition interlock device on your car

In addition, depending upon the severity of your incident, other additional charges may be added on. For instance, if you were involved in an accident during your DWI offense that resulted in bodily injury, you may be charged with a felony offense. A fourth-degree felony can result in an eighteen month jail sentence, whereas a third-degree felony can result in up to five years in prison.

How Can an Attorney Help With a DWI Charge?

While drunk driving laws in New Jersey are harsh, some drivers charged with aggravated DWI may feel like they were targeted for a specific punishment. But the court considers a variety factors when determining a sentence for a defendant. But an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to get the court to reduce — or in some cases, even dismiss — the charges against you.

For example, your attorney may be able to prove that law enforcement tampered with evidence or failed to properly administer the breathalyzer test. Or they may be able to challenge the results of blood tests or other evidence related to your case. An experienced DWI attorney may even be able to help keep serious charges off your criminal record.

Speak to an East Windsor DWI Attorney Today

At Samuel Louis Sachs Esq LLC, our seasoned legal team knows how to build solid defense strategies. If you are facing aggravated DWI charges, contact us today to learn more about your rights and options.