New Jersey has enhanced penalties if you are pulled over and arrested for DWI in a School Zone. A “school zone” is defined as any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property or an intersection that has been identified as a school crossing by the municipality through an ordinance. It is important to understand that it does not matter if school is actually in session or if school children are present. This means that you can be guilty of DWI in a School Zone even if you are pulled over in front of a school in the middle of the night on a weekend. In fact, the majority of our clients never even realize they are even near school property when they are pulled over. At Proetta & Oliver we represent clients for DUI in a School Zone throughout Hudson County and New Jersey including Weehawken, Jersey City, Secaucus, Kearny, Union City and North Bergen. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one, contact us today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with an experienced DWI defense attorney.
School Zone DUI Penalties in New Jersey
New Jersey is infamous for having some of the most severe DWI penalties throughout the country. All the penalties are essentially doubled for defendants convicted of driving while intoxicated in a school zone. A first offense DWI in a school zone carries a license suspension of 1 – 2 years, 6 months to 2 year interlock device, and jail incarceration up to 60 days. A second offense for driving under the influence in a school zone carries a 4 year loss of your driver’s license, 4 – 180 days in jail, 1 – 3 years of interlock and 60 days of community. A third offense for DWI in a school zone carries a 20 year loss of your driver’s license, 1 – 3 years interlock device, and 180 days in jail, except that the court may lower such term for each day, not exceeding 90 days, served participating in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
As mentioned above, under the law it is not a defense that the driver did not know they were within 1,000 feet of school property or driving through a school crossing. Moreover, it is not relevant that there were no children actually present at the school or crossing at the time of the offense. As part of the state’s prosecution, they are required to provide a school zone map of the town which can be examined by the defense. Our attorneys have successfully challenged and dismissed DWI school zones charges based on a number of issues including the fact that the driver was not actually stopped or seen driving through a school zone or even that a property was misidentified as a school zone such as university or college which do not count for purposes of the DWI school zone statute. If you would like to learn more about your rights and options on defending a DUI in a school zone charge, contact our office today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation.
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