Serving the Elizabeth NJ Superior Court & All Municipal Courts in Union County

Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

Over 200 Years Combined Experience

Former County & Municipal Prosecutors




Garwood DWI Lawyer

A night out with friends can abruptly turn into a nightmare if you have been drinking and get pulled over for DWI by an officer from the Garwood Police Department. When the officer places handcuffs on your wrists and leads you to a patrol car because you have been arrested for allegedly violating N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (“Driving While Intoxicated”), the shock and confusion makes it difficult to think clearly. Receipt of the DWI offense and related tickets is just the beginning of a process that has the potential to end in significant penalties such as a license suspension, thousands in surcharges and even incarceration. Hiring a lawyer who is accomplished in the defense of Garwood DWI charges is equipped to provide you with the tools to avoid these ramifications.

At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our team of seasoned defense attorneys and former prosecutors has more than 100 years of combined experience defending people facing a first offense, second offense or third offense of DWI in Garwood and other Union County municipalities. We know how an aggressive defense by Garwood DWI lawyers whose training includes certifications in the operation of the Alcotest device used by police to measure your blood alcohol concentration level and in field sobriety testing procedures offers you the best chance of avoiding a conviction. There is an attorney available to help you 24 hours a day and seven days a week by calling (908) 272-1700 for a free initial consultation.

Garwood DWI Offense

Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. New Jersey uses blood alcohol concentration levels to determine if a driver is intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08 percent of higher being the benchmark for intoxication. The most frequently used method of measuring BAC in New Jersey is with the Alcotest device that uses a breath sample. Another, less frequently used method, is a laboratory test of a blood sample. By accepting a driver’s license issued by the state, you consent to breath requested by a law enforcement officer having a reasonable basis to believe you are driving under the influence. A refusal results in the suspension of your license for a first offense of 7 months, fines up to $500 and required participation at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for at least 12 hours. These penalties are separate from anything that might happen with a first offense or greater for DWI.

New Jersey DWI Conviction Penalties

For a first offense DWI with a BAC of between 0.08 percent and less than 0.10 percent, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 authorizes the following penalties at sentencing:

  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • 90-day license suspension
  • Fines up to $400 with a $250 minimum fine
  • 12-48 hours attendance at IDRC
  • $1,000 yearly surcharge for three years

Plea bargaining, which is the process commonly used in criminal defense to negotiate with prosecutors for a lesser charge or for a lighter sentence, is prohibited in DWI cases. This practice is barred whether you are facing a first offense, second offense or are looking at the possibility of 180 days in jail for a third offense. However, a skillful Garwood DWI lawyer attacks each aspect of the prosecution case to weaken it to give a judge the opportunity to avoid imposing the severe penalties required by law. Defenses in a particular case might include:

  • Improper basis for stopping your vehicle: The U.S. Constitution prohibits police from stopping your vehicle without having a lawful basis for doing so in the form of reasonable suspicion that you have committed a violation of the law. If the stop is invalid, everything that resulted from it, including the DWI arrest, is also invalid.
  • Lack of proof of operation of the vehicle: Evidence of operation of the vehicle by the person accused of a DWI might not be as obvious as you would expect depending on the facts. For example, a police officer might happen upon a motorist asleep in a vehicle parked on the side of the road. A police officer might testify in court about the location of the keys and where the driver was seated in the vehicle to establish operation, but an experienced defense attorney could use the facts to demonstrate alternative conclusions that could be draw pointing to something other than operation of the vehicle.
  • Lack of probable cause to arrest: Police cannot make an arrest unless they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. This belief must be supported by the evidence. In a DWI case, the observation by the police officer of the driver is usually critical to establishing probable cause. Slurred speech, an odor of alcohol and indications of drinking are looked for by an officer who suspects a person of driving under the influence. Field sobriety tests, the one-leg stand, walk and turn, nystagmus and horizontal gaze, used to establish probable cause for a DWI arrest can be challenged in court if administered improperly.

Challenging the reliability of breath or blood testing is of critical importance in a DWI case where prosecutors can prove intoxication merely by introducing the test results. Our attorneys hold certification in the use of the Alcotest device used throughout New Jersey by police to measure BAC levels using breath samples, so they know how to challenge the methods and protocols used in a particular case

Garwood DWI Lawyer

A Garwood DWI lawyer from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall offers you the best chance of avoiding the penalties and consequences of a conviction. There is a defense attorney available 24 hours a day and seven days a week by calling us at (908) 272-1700 for a free initial consultation. Our seasoned DUI lawyers are standing by to assist you immediately.