Interviewer: What are the consequences if you already have an ongoing DWI and you’re caught driving?
Tom Chaves: The consequences of driving on the revoked list for DWI are fairly severe. If you have a first DWI conviction and then are caught driving while your license is suspended for the DWI the minimum license suspension is one year extra, a $500 fine and 10 to 90 days in the County Jail. The penalties increase substantially for a person who has been previously convicted of driving on the revoked list for DWI. In those cases, mandatory jail terms, suspensions and fines increase. New Jersey law recently changed to add an indictable fourth degree felony, as opposed to municipal, charge for persons charged with driving on the revoked list who have two prior convictions for DWI. This has a mandatory sentence of 180 days in the County Jail.
Major Client Concerns Following a DWI Charge in New Jersey
Interviewer: What are the main concerns do they have besides the driving? Do they fear jail or anything else?
Tom Chaves: For first offenders its license revocation but for second and third offenders it’s the mandatory jail component.
A Judge Potentially Has the Right to Incarcerate a First Time DWI Offender
Interviewer: All right, but it’s not a concern on first offense, is it?
Tom Chaves: Potentially, a judge has the right to incarcerate someone for a first offense but it’s extremely rare. I’ve never had a case where the first time offender was jailed.
Loss of Driving Privileges and Insurance Consequences are the Major Client Concerns Following a DWI Charge
Interviewer: Any other concerns people have whether they’re rationale or not, what do they fear is going to happen and misconceptions?
Tom Chaves: I think loss of license, insurance consequence; those are the primary concerns that people have. The fines that the court imposes is a secondary concern, it’s not as significant.
A Third Time DWI Offender Must Consider the Prospect of Serving Time in County Jail
Interviewer: Anything else they’re telling you or that’s about it?
Tom Chaves: Well, I mean when you get into the second and third, especially the third, then the County Jail is overwhelmingly the concern that people have but that only applies for people that are in the second and third offense category.
Interviewer: What about the IDRC program?
Tom Chaves: I haven’t had a client who’s had a problem with it. It’s a 12-hour program over two days, I haven’t heard of anyone really having an issue with it.