New Jersey DWI Penalties

If you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence in New Jersey, consult a defense attorney immediately. The New Jersey legal system is serious about DWI and DUI offenders and imposes harsh potential penalties, but working with the right defense attorney can help you minimize the impact of these charges on your life.

At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our powerful legal defense team has years of experience defending DWI and DUI cases throughout Atlantic County. We are ready to put our well-honed skills and thorough knowledge of the law to work for you, advocating aggressively on your behalf to minimize your charges or even have them dismissed entirely.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol in New Jersey

New Jersey law imposes one set of potential penalties for both Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance (DUI). However, within this set of potential penalties, each case is different. The potential consequences for charges of DWI or DUI range from a driver’s license suspension of 3 months to 10 years, depending on the facts of your case. Additional penalties also apply in DWI and DUI cases, including steep fines and surcharges, community service requirements, and even potential jail time. Penalties vary based on the alleged blood alcohol content of the driver facing charges and also depending on whether the driver has faced any past DWI or DUI charges. Regarding the driver’s blood alcohol content (or BAC), penalties vary based on which category a driver’s BAC falls within. In New Jersey, 0.08% is the minimum threshold for a Driving While Intoxicated charge. Above that threshold, two separate categories apply, with differing penalties for each:

  • BAC above 0.08% but below 0.10%
  • BAC above 0.10%

The other factor that can significantly affect your potential penalties for a DWI or DUI is whether you have a history or record of other DWI or DUI charges. As described below, New Jersey penalties can vary greatly depending on this factor.

First Offense DWI Penalties in New Jersey

Although DWI and DUI charges are considered to be traffic offenses in New Jersey and not criminal offenses, a conviction for Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence does carry harsh penalties, even for a first-time offender. If you are convicted of a first DWI offense in New Jersey with a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than 0.08%, but not exceeding 0.10%, and you do not have any prior DUI or DWI offenses on your record, you could be subject to the following serious penalties.

Penalties for First DWI Offense

  • Loss of your driving privileges for 3 months.
  • Up to 30 days jail time.
  • Between $250 and $400 in fines.
  • A $1,000 annual insurance surcharge each year for three years.
  • Other fees and surcharges of over $525.
  • Mandatory alcohol/substance abuse assessment.
  • Two days of 6-hour mandatory alcohol education classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).

For a DWI conviction with a BAC of 0.10% or higher, the penalties become even more harsh:

  • Loss of your driving privileges for 7 months to one year.
  • Up to 30 days jail time.
  • Ignition Interlock requirement during license suspension and for six to twelve months afterwards.
  • Between $300 and $500 in fines.
  • A $1,000 annual insurance surcharge each year for three years.
  • Other fees and surcharges of over $525.
  • Mandatory alcohol/substance abuse assessment.
  • Two days of 6-hour mandatory alcohol education classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).

DWI or DUI in a School Zone

If your facing charges for Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence in a school zone, additional penalties apply. Under these circumstances, you will be facing penalties that include up to 60 days of hail time, an additional driver’s license suspension of 1-2 years, and additional fines of $500-$800.

The Cost of DWI Charges

Even a first-time offense for Driving While Intoxicated can be very expensive. The following chart explains the surcharges and expenses that come along with a DWI conviction:

Surcharge or FeeCost
Drunk driving enforcement fund surcharge$100
Court costs$0 – $33
Safe Neighborhood Services Funds surcharge$50
Physicians fee$0 – $20
Various assessments$6
Alcohol Education, Rehabilitation & Enforcement Fund$100
Intoxicated Driver Resource Center fees$75 per day
Driver’s License Restoration Fee$100
Merit Rating Plan Surcharge$3,000
Merit Rating Plan Point assessment$525 – $675

 

If you are not able to pay all of the fees and surcharges associated with a conviction, you driver’s license may be suspended indefinitely until all of these costs are paid. The NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) can also file a claim in the New Jersey Superior Court to secure a lien against your property or garnish your wages, which can have devastating effects on your life and finances.

Although a DWI or DUI matter may seem straightforward, these charges can often be successfully reduced or even dismissed with the right defense attorney on your side. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our powerful legal defense team has the knowledge, skill, and experience needed to advocate for the best possible outcome on your behalf. Our attorneys are trained in proper procedures for breathalyzer tests in New Jersey using the Alcotest machine, and highly familiar with proper procedures and potential legal issues that may come in to play when field sobriety tests are used. This combination of knowledge, skill, and experience can help us to carefully navigate the legal system in handling your case, identifying potential errors and legal standards that can be used in your defense. Contact our office today for a free consultation to find out how we can help fight your DWI or DUI charges.

Second Offense DWI Penalties in New Jersey

Because New Jersey takes Driving While Intoxicated and Driving Under the Influence charges seriously, potential penalties are significantly higher for repeat offenders. Additionally, for a second offense, there is no longer any distinction made between categories of DWI based on blood alcohol content. Therefore, the penalties that apply for a BAC over 0.08% are just as harsh as those incurred by a BAC of 0.10% or higher. If you are convicted of a second DWI or DUI offense within ten years of your first offense, you will be facing the following legal consequences:

  • Loss of your driving privileges for 2 years.
  • Jail time of 2 – 90 days.
  • Ignition Interlock requirement during license suspension and for 1-3 years afterwards.
  • Fines of $500 – $1,000.
  • 30 days of community service.
  • 12 – 48 hrs Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
  • A $1,000 annual insurance surcharge each year for three years.

Additional fees and surcharges will also apply if you are convicted of a repeat offense, including a $75 Neighborhood Services Fund surcharge, a $100 Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF) surcharge,$280 for IDRC fees, the cost of installing, maintaining, and removing your Ignition Interlock Device, and more.

Third Offense DWI Penalties in New Jersey

Potential penalties become even more harsh if you are convicted for a third DWI or DUI offense in New Jersey within ten years of your second offense. As with a second offense, there is no difference in penalties based on BAC, so you will be facing the harsh consequences associated with a third offense for and BAC over 0.08%. For a third or subsequent DUI or DWI offense, the following potential penalties are imposed:

  • Loss of your driving privileges for 10 years.
  • Jail time of 180 days.
  • Ignition Interlock requirement during license suspension and for 1-3 years afterwards.
  • $1,000 fine.
  • Up to 90 days of community service.
  • 12 – 48 hrs Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
  • A $1,500 annual insurance surcharge each year for three years.

As with a second offense, additional fees and surcharges will also apply if you are convicted of a third or subsequent offense, including a $75 Neighborhood Services Fund surcharge, a $100 Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF) surcharge, $280 for IDRC fees, the cost of installing, maintaining, and removing your Ignition Interlock Device, and more.

Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

Because many of the harsh DUI and DWI penalties dictated by New Jersey law are mandatory, and because these potential penalties can be so costly and cumbersome and affect your life and your employment for many years to come, it is important to work with the right defense attorney. If you are facing charges for Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence, you need a defense attorney on your side who is experienced and knowledgeable regarding New Jersey DWI law. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our powerful legal defense team has years of experience defending drivers in Atlantic County. If you are facing charges for a DWI or DUI in Atlantic County, please call us at 1-877-450-8301 or e-mail us to arrange your free consultation today.