DWI offenses that take within a school zone in New Jersey are considered more serious and the penalties are enhanced. In 1999, the New Jersey Legislature added the statute N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g) for DWI in a School Zone in the wake of several accidents with school children involving drunk drivers. In order to be convicted with a school zone DUI the court needs to prove that, at the time of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, you were within 1000 feet of a school property or drove through a school crossing. The “school zone” need not actually surround a school, but also includes any property a) used for school purposes or; b) owned or leased by an elementary, secondary school, or school board. As an example, we frequently handle cases where clients are charged with a school zone DUI even where no school exists but because they were driving by a football field or even administrative building.
New Jersey School Zone DUI Penalties
The enhancement penalties for a DWI or DUI in a School Zone in New Jersey are as follows.
- 1st Offense School Zone DWI/Refusal: (1) Up to 60 days in county jail; (2) a mandatory 1 year – 2 years loss of your driver’s license; and (3) a fine that can range from between $600 to $1,000
- 2nd Offense School Zone DWI/Refusal: (1) Mandatory 4 days to 180 days in county jail; (2) a mandatory 4 year loss of your driver’s license; and (3) a fine of between $1000 – $2000.
- 3rd Offense School Zone DWI/Refusal: (1) Mandatory 180 days in county jail; (2) a mandatory 10 year loss of your driver’s license; and (3) a fine of $2000.
It is important to note that a DWI in a School Zone is actually a separate charge from a regular DWI so you can in fact be charged and convicted of both a DWI and a DWI in a School Zone. Moreover, DUI school zone offenses are strict liability so unfortunately it is not a defense if you did not know you were even in a school zone or whether it was at night and children were not even present. In order to prove that a DWI in a school zone occurred, the State only needs to show that the person was within a 1000 of school property or through a school crossing. However, there are numerous defenses to DUI school zone charges that can be raised by an experienced New Jersey DWI defense lawyer. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our defense attorneys are trained in the use of the Alcotest as well as the standard field sobriety tests. In fact, our attorneys are typically able to get our client’s school zone DWI & Refusal charges dismissed. If you or loved one has been arrested for DWI in a school zone, contact our office at 877-450-8301 for a free consultation with one of our defense attorneys and learn about your best options.
Related Information & Helpful Links
|New Jersey DWI Penalties||New Jersey Refusal Attorney|
|Drug DUI Lawyer in NJ||Alcotest Machine|
|Standard Field Sobriety Tests||Underage DWI Charges|