When many think of alcohol-related driving offenses, many are under the assumption that driving under the influence or while intoxicated is the only charge. However, this is far from the truth. There are several charges you can face in New Jersey, even if you are completely sober. If you’re facing alcohol-related offenses, you’ll want to reach out to a Bergen County DWI attorney as soon as possible. Though these charges may not seem severe, they can cost you in the long run. Keep reading to learn more about the crimes you may not know about.
What Are the Penalties for Alcohol-Related Offenses?
One charge many are unfamiliar with involves driving with an open container of alcohol in your car. If you are pulled over, and an officer sees an open bottle of alcohol in your vehicle, you can face a $250 penalty even if you didn’t drink it. You can avoid these charges by leaving open or unsealed bottles or containers of alcohol in your trunk while driving.
Another charge many are unfamiliar with is failure to submit to a breathalyzer test. While police need reasonable suspicion to require you to submit to a breath test, if you do not comply, you will face a fine, license suspension until you’ve installed an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and required courses. If you are subsequently charged, the penalties will increase with each instance you refuse a breath test.
Finally, letting a person under the influence drive your car can land both of you a DWI, even if you never got behind the wheel. This is because you knowingly allowed someone under the influence to operate your vehicle. In most cases, this occurs when two or more people go out drinking.
For example, Friend A, who owns the vehicle, knows they are too intoxicated to drive home. Instead, they allow Friend B, who only feels buzzed, to drive their car home. As buzzed driving is drunk driving, law enforcement pulls the car over and realizes both parties are intoxicated, and the vehicle is registered to Friend A. This means both will face charges, as it is indisputable that Friend A was aware that Friend B was under the influence.
What Should I Do if Charged?
If you’re facing charges, reaching out to a competent attorney as soon as possible is essential. In many cases, your attorney will be able to help come up with a defense to fight to prove that the charges against you are unwarranted.
Despite seeming insignificant, these charges can carry heavy penalties like fines, license suspensions, and the installation of ignition interlock devices. Similarly, the consequences can increase in severity based on your previous record, making it all the more important for first-time offenders to try to clear their records.
When you’re facing alcohol-related charges, you’ll want to ensure you reach out to the Law Office of Attorney Conway as soon as possible. Our law firm will fight to help you obtain the best possible outcome for your specific circumstances. Reach out today to discuss your case with our dedicated firm.