DWI Defense in Washington Township
In Washington Township, NJ a DWI presents a difficult situation for you if charged. You need to know how the system works. You need to know your rights and obligations.
At the Law Offices of Christopher L. Baxter, we have more than 3,200 DWI cases under our belt. Attorney Baxter is a former DWI prosecutor and has been trained on breath testing and roadside testing. Using our experience, we have put together this guide to DWI enforcement in NJ, providing key information you need to know should you or a family member be charged and need a Washington Township DWI lawyer.
Is DWI Different from DUI?
Across the country, and more commonly throughout the media, you will hear the term DUI (driving under the influence). It’s important to realize that DUI and DWI are the same offense, and carry much the same penalties.
What are the first things you should do if you are arrested for DWI?
The first thing is to try to remain calm. Cooperate with law enforcement officers and do as instructed, but do not go to court and plead guilty to any charges until you have had a chance to consult with Attorney Baxter. Only an experienced attorney can explain your charges and what you are up against.
What if an Officer Asks Me to Take a Sobriety Test?
If you’ve been pulled over, REMEMBER that you have NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to perform any roadside balance tests. Be courteous and cooperative with the officers, but politely DECLINE to do the balance tests. They are set up for failure and will only provide law enforcement possible incriminating evidence against you in your Washington Township DWI defense. Often, these roadside tests are videotaped and used against you.
You should know, however, that only three sobriety tests are considered valid by any court of law in Washington Township. They are:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test – A “stimulus” (possibly a pen) is placed in front of you. You are to follow the object with your eyes only, while the officer studies your pupil size and the smoothness in which your eyes follow the object.
- Walk and Turn Test – The officer will ask you to walk heel to toe, arms at your side, along a straight line before turning around and doubling back on the same line.
- One leg stand test – The officer will ask you to stand up straight, with one foot extended out, and six inches off the ground and arms at your side. You will be instructed to look at your foot and count out loud while maintaining balance.
Even very minor errors in the balance tests will permit the officer to arrest you on suspicion of DWI and bring you to the police station for breath testing. That’s another reason why it’s important not to perform those tests.
Under What Circumstances am I Most Likely to be Convicted?
Washington Township law allows two methods to convict you of a DWI. First, Washington Township
law states that you are automatically deemed impaired (and will be found guilty) if the police obtain a BAC from you that is 0.08% or greater. That’s why it’s so important to hire Attorney Christopher L. Baxter. He’s a state trained, former prosecutor who knows all of the weaknesses in BAC testing—both breath and blood. Attorney Christopher Baxter may be able to exclude the BAC reading from evidence and limit the ability of the State to convict you.
But it doesn’t end there. In Washington Township, without adequate representation, you can find yourself convicted of a DWI charge without any evidence of a BAC breath test. Courts can convict you based on your driving behavior and their subjective judgment of your performance of roadside sobriety tests—even without a BAC reading.
That is another reason why you need to contact Attorney Christopher L. Baxter to help protect your rights. He is trained in the standard field sobriety roadside testing and can find weaknesses in the State’s ability to convict you using those tests.
What if I’m Charged with DWI for Drugs Rather than Alcohol?
You may have been charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence based on the allegation that you ingested a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or even prescription medicine. These cases are handled differently by the prosecutor and raise a number of unique defenses that may assist your case. Work with our team at the Law Offices of Christopher L. Baxter for dedicated and results-oriented advocacy.
Even if you are taking prescription drugs from your doctor, if the police and the prosecutor feel that the prescription impaired your ability to drive and can present evidence of this impairment, you can be convicted of DWI based on this evidence. The prosecutor, however, must show the scientific reliability of the evidence before the state can sustain a conviction.
In many DWI cases involving controlled, dangerous substances or prescription drugs, the police may have made an error by failing to have a drug recognition expert (“DRE”) relate your symptoms to the use of any CDS or prescription drugs found during your arrest. Moreover, if you did not admit taking a controlled dangerous substance or prescription drugs, and none are found during your traffic stop, your defense may be enhanced. If the police obtained a blood or urine sample, they may have done so in a way that violates your rights. That could lead to the results being inadmissible. Finally, the lab may have made substantial errors in the blood or urine testing. Attorney Baxter is trained in the science to challenge blood and urine analysis.
What is an Ignition Interlock?
Since December 1, 2019, New Jersey has a new statute that changes the way the state deals with DWI cases. In the past, the state relied heavily on driving suspensions to curb drunk-driving behavior. The new law, however, is designed to rely on different measures, namely the installation of ignition interlock devices.
These devices are built-in breathalyzers installed in your car that you must breathe into every time you start the car and also while driving. If you register as 0.05% BAC, then your ignition will not start for one hour. Multiple violations of the interlock limit could result in substantial additional penalties for you. They’re embarrassing to use if you have passengers in your vehicle.
What Penalties Will I Face if Punished with a DWI?
If you’re a first-time offender and have a BAC below 0.15%, you must have an interlock device installed on your car, or otherwise, your driver’s license will be suspended. In addition, you will have up to $400 in fines, Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) classes, and up to a 30-day jail sentence. If your BAC reading is above 0.15%, then all of the penalties are higher, and you will lose your driver’s license for up to 6 months. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced attorney like Chris Baxter, who can challenge your BAC reading and attack all of the other weaknesses in the State’s case.
2nd and 3rd DWI convictions carry even harsher consequences, including mandatory jail time and mandatory, lengthy driver’s license suspensions. Our firm will help you challenge the charges being made against you, no matter how complex. We will provide you with reliable legal counsel you can trust, 24/7.
Why Effective Legal Defense Matters
As recently as November 2018, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that malpractice on the part of law enforcement officers may lead to the overturning of some 20,000 prior DWI convictions. That’s why you must contact the best DWI defense lawyer you can find. Experience is key!
At the Law Offices of Christopher L. Baxter, we have more than 3,200 DWI cases under our belt. Attorney Baxter is a former DWI prosecutor and has been trained on breath testing and roadside testing. Let his experience work for you!
Contact us at the Law Offices of Christopher L. Baxter today, and our team will leave no stone unturned in your search for justice.
Regardless of the Circumstances
As a 2015 Clients’ Choice award recipient with a *10.0 Superb Avvo Rating, Attorney Baxter has demonstrated his ability to secure favorable outcomes on behalf of our clients, no matter how complex the situation may be. Although you may be worried about what the future holds, you do not have to work through this time on your own. We stand ready to relentlessly defend you from your initial consultation until the resolution of your case.
How We Set The Bar For DWI Defense
Reasonable Rates & Payment Plan Options
More Than 3,200 DWI Cases Handled
Former Prosecutor – Experience from Both Sides of the Courtroom
Available 24/7 to Assist Our Clients
Trained in the Use of Alcotest Breath Testing Instruments