Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Victor A. Rotolo
Badge - Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Badge - Multi Million Dollar Advocates Forums
Badge - New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Attorney
Badge - New Jersey's Best Lawyers For Families 2018
Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers
Badge - AV Preeminent Victor A. Rotolo
Badge - Client Champion Gold 2020
Badge - Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce
Please click Award & Selection Criteria & Methodology for information regarding the specific criteria used for selection of each of the above awards.

DWI - The Hidden Costs

Former prosecutor Anthony Kearns and former police officer Victor Rotolo have years of experience representing clients in DUI/DWI and other motor vehicle violations. The attorneys at Kearns Rotolo Law understand that each case is unique and requires an individual approach. They focus on the particulars of your case to help minimize the consequences.

Victor Rotolo successfully argues before the NJ Supreme Court in a case of constitutional import, in which the Court ruled that a DUI conviction cannot be used in any later DUI case for sentencing purposes if, (1) the individual plead or was found guilty, and (2) the individual was not advised of his/her right to counsel and, as to indigent individuals, the right to assigned counsel.

DWI in New Jersey

New Jersey law does not differentiate between DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and DUI (Driving Under the Influence). The terms, sometimes used interchangeably, both refer to a person driving a motor vehicle while impaired by the use of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications. Whatever you call it, this motor vehicle violation comes with harsh penalties.

Once convicted of a DWI in New Jersey, you will face fines of up to $1,000; suspension of your driver’s license for up to 10 years, and possible jail time. Penalties are dependent on your offense record and the particulars surrounding your individual case.

Educational and Prevention Programs

Upon your conviction for a DWI, you will have to pay a fee to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, a network of county and regional centers where convicted drivers are detained, educated and evaluated to determine the need for additional intervention services. You’ll also have to pay fees to a number of other funds, including the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund, the Drunk Driving Fund, and the Neighborhood Services Fund.

Annual Surcharge and the Consequences for Not Paying

In addition to those fees, you will be ordered to pay a surcharge to the New Jersey Violations System. This surcharge is assessed annually for a period of three years following your conviction. The amount varies depending on the record of your offense.

Failure to pay this surcharge can lead to additional problems. The State can:

  • refuse to reinstate your driving privileges until the surcharge is paid in full;
  • prevent you from selling property;
  • report you to a collection agency;
  • charge additional fees for collection and interest.
DWI Penalties Move with You

Moving out of State does not get you off the hook for this surcharge. If your driving privilege is suspended in New Jersey, you will be reported to the National Driver Registry, which is used by other states when issuing or renewing licenses within their jurisdiction. You can be refused a driver’s license in those states if you fail to pay your surcharge in New Jersey.

Furthermore, if you hold a New Jersey driver’s license and are convicted of a violation in another state equivalent to a New Jersey DWI, you can be assessed the New Jersey surcharge.

Ignition Interlock Devices

The court also may require you to get an ignition interlock device (IID), which will prevent you from starting your vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) reads 0.05% or higher. You also will have to pay all costs associated with the IID, including installation, monthly service fees for calibration and monitoring, and removal once the penalty period has expired.

The Effect of a DWI on Your Insurance

Most insurance companies, when learning of a DWI conviction, consider you a high risk. You will no longer be eligible for “safe driver” discounts, and your insurance rates most likely will increase dramatically.

In assessing your risk as a customer, insurance companies consider such factors as the specific details surrounding your DWI conviction; how long you have been their customer; and whether you have any other moving violations or insurance coverage lapses on your record. Depending on the answers to these questions, your coverage can be terminated altogether.

Potential Loss of Income

There are no provisional licenses in New Jersey, meaning if your driver’s license is suspended as a result of a DWI, you are not allowed to drive at all during that suspension period – not even to work or school. If you are unable to make alternative transportation arrangements, you risk losing your job. You also risk losing any professional licenses you may hold, the right to obtain a driver’s license in another state, and even the ability to travel to some other countries.

More Hidden Costs

Other hidden costs associated with a DWI conviction include the cost of having your license restored, and any related jail and / or court costs, including lawyers’ fees. However, with so much at stake, it is advisable to seek the counsel of an experienced DWI attorney when faced with these charges.

In New Jersey, the validity of the DWI charge can be put into question. The attorneys at Kearns Rotolo Law are experienced with defending against DWI charges. They will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your specific case in an effort to mitigate the consequences. Call our offices today at (908) 534-7900 to set up a consultation.

What Our Clients are Saying

The absolute BEST!!! I have a family of attorneys but needed someone local. Victor was recommended to me and words cannot describe how pleased I was with his firm. The outstanding service and attention each member of his staff gave to me surpassed any and all expectations. Victor surrounds himself with a hardworking team that he leads. I felt it was money spent wisely. I will continue to recommend Victor and his associates.

- Stephanie

Mr. Rotolo has helped me numerous times in legal matters and has continued to support and help me through countless hardships. He is dedicated to providing the best service and is a true professional. I will continue to consult with him regarding any legal issues in the future. He is a respectable, hardworking, kind hearted man and I would recommend his legal services to anyone.

- Matthew

I am an attorney and have practiced law for 26 years. I hired Vic to handle a very difficult family matter because I do not handle family law. Vic was extremely competent and obtained a result far beyond my expectations. Without his counsel my son's and family's life would have been changed forever. Thank you Vic for your good lawyering. I very much appreciate the personal attention and time dedicated to this matter. I highly recommend Vic.

- Anthony

We recently had a situation where we needed to hire an attorney. We selected Kearns Rotolo Law and I can honestly say that we were above and beyond satisfied with Vic and his team. We would absolutely recommend this firm to anyone should the need arise. We blindly picked the firm out of the phone book because I liked his ad. Now I believe that God was pointing us in the right direction. Thank you Vic and Kearns Rotolo Law for being there for us in our time of need.

- Kim

Victor's expertise, due diligence, and empathy for his client made my first experience with the law (and last) a non-stressful one. Before the case, I did my research and looked over about 20 lawyers before choosing Victor. All my sources pointed to him as the best and they weren't off even a bit. Victor treated my case like it was his own and kept me up to date with all my appointments, breakthroughs in the case, and guided me step through step in a process that I never thought that I had to come to endure. If Victor's not available Susy will go out of her way to take care you. The productivity and efficiency in that office is second to none. Thank you Victor!

- Michael