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If you are convicted of a third and subsequent DWI charge in New Jersey, then you will be sentenced to a mandatory sentence of 180 days in jail. The New Jersey Appellate court clarified the requirement, so that if you are charged with a third and subsequent DWI you cannot serve your 180 jail sentence intermittently. In New Jersey, serving a few days out of the week is often called “weekend jail,” “weekend service,” or “periodic service.”
State v. Grabowski
When Pedro Anicama, a restaurant owner in Newark was convicted of his third DWI charge, a Municipal court judge modified his sentence to allow him to complete his jail sentence by serving two days a week. The judge used his discretion to modify the sentence because he felt that serving a consecutive sentence of 180 days would have a severe impact on his business. After his sentencing, the state filed an appeal and his case went to a superior court in Hudson County.
The Hudson County Superior Court reversed the decision of the lower court and the case moved on to New Jersey Appeals court where the panel agreed with the superior court judge’s ruling. According to Judge George Leone, the legislation does not indicate there should be a weakening of punishment by allowing them to be periodically released before finishing their sentence of 180 days. Ultimately, the court decided that those convicted of a third or subsequent DWI cannot serve that sentence periodically.
With this decision, the appellate court modified “Michael’s Law” which amended New Jersey DWI law under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Although the 180 days of the jail sentence can be reduced to 90 days if the inmate is in an in-patient rehabilitation center, the court ruled that the jail sentence for a third DWI cannot be served intermittently.
The Impact of the Ruling
A consecutive 180 day jail sentence can be really destructive to someone's business, their relationships, and overall life. This clarification makes the penalties for a third and subsequent DWI in the Garden State much harsher and the third DWI conviction much more severe. Other penalties that are included for a third DWI conviction are:
- $1,000 fine
- $125 DWI surcharge and $100 DDEF surcharge
- Completion of Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program
- 6 months in jail (up to 90 days may be served in an IDRC program)
- Drivers license suspension for 8 years
- Installation of ignition interlock device for 2-4 years after driver’s license is restored
When to Seek Legal Help
Needless to say, if you are facing a third DWI charge in New Jersey, it is crucial that you have a fantastic criminal defense lawyer with a good track record with these types of cases. An experienced DUI defense lawyer will challenge the state’s case against you and give you a solid chance of getting a dismissal. Don’t risk your job, your life, your freedom with a third DWI conviction. Do the smart thing and get a good lawyer.
Contact an Experienced Lawrence DWI Defense Attorney About Your Drunk Driving Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a third or subsequent DWI or DUI offense in New Jersey? A drunk driving conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified DWI defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at The Davis Law Firm, LLC represent clients charged with drunk driving, breath test refusal, and related offenses in Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, and throughout New Jersey. Call 609-587-9100 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.