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New Jersey DUI Laws

In New Jersey, a person is guilty of drunk driving if he/she operates a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. However, you may also be arrested for driving under the influence even when your BAC is below 0.08%. If you consume any amount of alcohol and your driving subsequently becomes impaired, you can be convicted of a DUI. Thus, the prosecutor only needs to prove one of the foregoing two elements (that your BAC was 0.08% or greater, or that your driving was impaired regardless of your BAC) in order to convict you of a DUI. Also, you can be arrested for a DUI without driving while you are over the legal BAC limit. . If your car keys were in your possession or if you fell asleep behind the wheel, you may still be arrested.

Elements of a DUI offense:

The elements of a DUI conviction are (1) driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug (2) driving or operating a motor vehicle having a BAC of 0.08% or greater and (3) permitting another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC OF 0.08% or greater. It is also important to keep in mind that in order to prove the element of (driving or operating), the prosecution need not show that the offender was actually driving the car at the time of the arrest. It is enough that you became impaired and subsequently placed yourself in a position to put the vehicle in motion.     

Vehicle stops in New Jersey:

A police officer may pull you over for any legal reason, however, there must be probable cause for the officer to make a traffic stop. The officer cannot act on a general belief that something illegal has occurred, there must be a legal basis for the stop. The police are constantly looking for traffic and vehicle violations. These violations can include speeding, running a red light, changing lanes without signaling etc. Generally a police officer can stop a person if he is violating a traffic law, if he is suspected of being engaged in criminal activity, or to make an arrest for criminal activity. In DUI cases, a police officer can lawfully stop a motorist if the officer suspects that the motorist may be drunk or otherwise impaired. However, if the police officer has no probable cause or suspicion of wrongdoing, this is not a lawful stop and this is one way to challenge a DUI charge.

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