There is a substantial difference between DWI, which is set forth at N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, and DWI in a School Zone, which is set forth at N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g).
In a School Zone DWI, the Defendant is charged with both a DWI and the School Zone provision. Therefore, the Defendant is subject to both charges, and the more serious of their particular penalties if both are proven.
For instance, a person charged with a first offense DWI, and a first offense DWI in a School Zone would be subject to the penalties under the School Zone provision since they are more serious than those of the ‘regular’ DWI.
In essence, the penalties for a DWI in a School Zone are double those for a regular DWI pertaining to fines, loss of license, and jail time. Concerning the specific fact pattern in this question, it is irrelevant that the school was closed or if it occurred in the summer months when school is not in session.
However, it must be a location in which classes are held to meet the definition of a school under the statute. In other words, a school board facility in which classes are not held and students are not present is not a school under the statute. A daycare facility is not a school under the statute. A parochial school is a school under the statute, as are all public and private schools.
If you have been cited for DWI in a school zone, you’ll need a very good defense attorney. Call us and get us involved as soon as possible.