Extra Trouble for DWI in School Zone
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon Apr 2016
You may have heard that certain charges carry extra penalties if they involve school zones. Not everyone realizes that driving while under the influence (DWI) represents additional penalties. Learn some important information about school zones and the applicable laws.
What are School Zones?
Do you know exactly what constitutes a school zone? Is it limited to the property where the school is located? Does it have to be marked by signs? Are colleges and universities considered to be in school zones? These are all good questions and the answers are listed as follows:
- Actual school property, including athletic fields
- Property owned/maintained by school boards
- Areas within 1,000 feet of any of the above
- Only applies to elementary, middle schools and high schools
- Also applies to school crosswalks
DWI in a School Zone carries Extra Penalties
Heightened penalties are assessed for driving while under the influence in a school zone. They are actually a subsection of the drunk driving statute. NJSA 39:4-50(g) also indicates that it is not relevant if the person convicted of drunk driving knew he or she was in a school zone.
The additional penalties for DWI in a school zone are:
- First offense: A fine of not less than $500 or more than $800. In addition, there is the chance that the court will sentence the individual for jail up to 60 days. Minimal license suspension is one year. Maximum loss of driving privileges is two years
- Second offense: A fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000. The court will also mandate community service for 60 days and order incarceration for not less than 96 consecutive hours. The jail time cannot be suspended or served on probation. The judge may order imprisonment for this portion of the offense for up to 180 days. License suspension is set at four years.
- Third offense: Someone convicted of DWI in a school zone for a third offense will be fined $2,000 and may be subject to imprisonment for up to 180 days. The term may be lowered if the individual participates in an approved drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. The license suspension for a third offense climbs to 20 years, which starts after the individual has been released from incarceration.
It makes sense to retain experienced legal counsel for any DWI offense. If you are charged with driving with intoxicated while in a school zone, it is important to seek legal advice. The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo has experience in this area of the law. Contact us to see how we can assist you.