DWI law in New Jersey is wide-ranging and covers a multitude of situations. There are a variety of reasons you can be charged with a DWI beyond operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. For example, if you’re pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, the state of New Jersey can penalize you with worse conditions than an actual DWI. Even allowing someone else who is intoxicated to drive can result in you receiving a DWI. You can also be charged based on the open-container law that makes it illegal to have opened alcoholic drinks within the driver and passenger areas of your car, whether you were drinking or not. New Jersey has a wide jurisdiction regarding DWI law that can leave you with face fines, license suspensions, and even jail time.

Criminal or Traffic Offense?

What many people aren’t aware of, however, is that the state of New Jersey doesn’t recognize a DWI as a criminal offense. While other states treat this violation criminally, a DWI in New Jersey is considered quasi-criminal in the form of a traffic offense. A DWI will only appear on your Motor Vehicle Commission record. This doesn’t mean a DWI shouldn’t be taken seriously, however, because it will still result in severe penalties.

Plea Bargaining

It is also important to note that it is illegal to negotiate a plea bargain for a DWI case in the state of New Jersey. This means it is crucial to find proper representation if you hope to have your charges dismissed.


In order for the state to actually convict you of a DWI, they must accomplish the following prerequisites by a preponderance of evidence:

  • The officer had probable cause to pull you over
  • The officer had a reasonable cause to arrest you for a DWI

Once the prerequisites have been met, the state must then prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you operated or intended to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated and/or with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%.

Fight your Charges

Understanding the specifics of DWI law are crucial in beating your charges. The experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq. are extremely knowledgeable in DWI law and know how to contest your charges. The statutes listed on this page are for your information only.  Always check official sources for updates.

DWI, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50

DWI in a School Zone, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50g

Refusal to submit to breath test, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a

Underage person operating motor vehicle after consuming alcohol, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14

DWI with a minor as a passenger, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15

Failure to install ignition interlock device, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.19

Consumption of alcoholic beverages in motor vehicles, N.J.S.A. 39:4-51a

Possession of open, unsealed alcoholic beverage container, N.J.S.A. 39:4-51b

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