DWI With Accident or Injury
If you are charged with a DWI in New Jersey where there has been an accident with injuries, in addition to the DWI charge, you can be charged with an indictable or felony level criminal charge.
This can substantially change all aspects of the case against you.
The case will be reviewed by the county prosecutor and will likely be heard at the county level rather than in the local municipality where the arrest occurred. The county prosecutor’s office will review the allegations in the case and the injuries sustained in the incident, and will determine whether to keep the case at the county level and proceed with the case on the indictable or felony level, or whether to return the case to be heard at the municipal level, declining to file the indictable or felony level charges.
If the case is held at the county level, the potential penalties are much more significant. The charge of Assault by Auto is a crime of the third degree if the person drives the vehicle while in violation of the DWI or Refusal statute, and serious bodily injury results. It is a crime of the fourth degree where bodily injury results. Third degree charges have a maximum prison sentence of five years, and fourth degree charges have a maximum term of eighteen months in prison.
If the violation occurred in a school zone or school crossing area, and serious bodily injury results, it is a crime of the second degree, with a maximum prison sentence of ten years. If bodily injury results from a school zone offense, it is a third degree crime, with a five year maximum prison term.
If no injuries resulted from the accident, then the charges will remain at the municipal level. The fact that there was an accident can be used by the judge in determining the sentence if there is a conviction on the DWI or Refusal charge. The judge sentences based on a range of penalty that can include greater than minimum license suspension and time in jail.
Many things may be done to potentially mitigate these circumstances. Please call Levow DWI Law to discuss your case.