DWI Charge in New Jersey

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey is a strict liability offense requiring no culpable mental state. Driving a vehicle on the roads in New Jersey with a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than .08% is a per se violation of the drinking and driving statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. The State need not demonstrate a defendant’s culpable state of mind to prove a violation for drunk driving. This was decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Hammond, 118 N.J. 306 (1990).

The elements of a DWI offense in New Jersey are basic. The drunk driving statute “prescribes an offense that is demonstrated solely by a reliable breathalyzer test administered within a reasonable period of time after the defendant is stopped for drunk driving which test results in the proscribed blood alcohol level.” State v. Tischio, 107 N.J. 504 (1987). Therefore, in order to provide a defense to DWI in New Jersey, you must challenge the stop (by showing an illegal stop for lack of probable cause), the breathalyzer results (by showing the machine did not have a valid certificate or that the machine was not functioning properly), the field sobriety tests, etc.