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What you should know about DWI per se

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2024 | DWI Defense |

Few drivers realize that there are nuances to the DWI laws, including an avenue for charges even without obvious impairment. The concept of DWI per se is a lesser-known, but equally important, part of the law, and drivers should understand the facts.

There are several things you should know about DWI per se charges.

Per se charges and the legal limit

When a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is equal to or above 0.08%, that constitutes legal intoxication. At that point, the driver is operating under the influence regardless of impairment. This qualifies as DWI per se.

The consequences of exceeding the limit

Many drivers mistakenly believe that, even with a blood alcohol concentration beyond the legal limit, they are not violating the law if they have no obvious impairment. In fact, they may experience more impairment than they realize. Exceeding the legal limit can lead to costly fines, license suspension and mandatory participation in alcohol education programs. In some cases, charges can lead to jail time as well.

The role of chemical tests

Chemical tests, such as breath or blood tests, determine a driver’s blood alcohol concentration. Refusing to undergo these tests can lead to additional penalties due to New Jersey’s implied consent laws which mean that you implicitly agree to submit to chemical testing by obtaining a driver’s license.

Defenses against per se charges

Many factors can affect the readings of a chemical test. You can contest per se charges on the grounds of certain medical conditions, improper testing procedures or faulty equipment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 31% of all traffic-related deaths in New Jersey in 2021. Understanding the significance of DWI and the role of DWI per se can help you protect yourself from wrongful DWI charges.