New Jersey DWI Laws and Penalties

DWI Laws
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The penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) may vary from losing a license for a certain period,  jail time, surcharges, fines, etc. The severity of the measures is usually defined by the blood alcohol content (BAC). There are two ways to check BAC: breath analysis or urine analysis. For the person to get charged with DWI, they do not have to be completely intoxicated, but their BAC level has to exceed the legally acceptable level. In New Jersey, DWI is treated as a motor vehicle violation and not a crime. If convicted, the person will not get a permanent criminal record. However, this is still a severe offense, and harsh penalties are implemented in this case. The severity of the penalties for DWI depends on the BAC level.   

An individual DUI history is important too. New Jersey has different penalties and fines for DWI and DUI depending on whether it is the first, second, third, or subsequent offense. Only the first offense DWI penalties and fines are considered in this article. 

DWI no more than 0.10%

The legal limit of the blood alcohol content in New Jersey is 0.08%. So, if the BAC level is between at least 0.08% and does not surpass 0.10%, provided this is a first offense DWI, the following penalties and fines are applied: 

  • losing driving privileges for three months
  • fines between 250 $- 400 $
  • other fees and surcharges over 525 $
  • imprisonment from 12 hours to 30 days
  • an automobile insurance surcharge of 1,000 $ annually for three years
  • a possibility to have the ignition interlock installed from six months to one year
  • 12 hours of classes at Intoxicated Driver Resource Centre in New Jersey  (IDRC) mandatory 
  • Alcohol abuse assessment

DWI 0.10% and more 

Penalties and fines applied to the convicted person become much more significant if the blood alcohol content shows the rate of 0.10% or more significant penalties. Here is the list of the costs:

  • fines between 300 $- 500$ 
  • losing a driving license for seven to twelve months
  • 12 hours of classes at Intoxicated Driver Resource Centre in New Jersey mandatory 
  • other fees and surcharges above 525 $
  • ignition interlock installed mandatory for six-twelve months (if BAC exceeds 0.15%)
  • an automobile insurance surcharge of 1,000 $ annually for three years

If the driver is underage, their BAC must not exceed 0.01%. If the underage driver shows BAC 0.01% to 0.08%, they will lose the license for 30 to 90 days. In addition, they will have to do from fifteen to thirty days of community service and take part in IDRC treatment. 

DUI first offense fines 

As mentioned earlier, New Jersey, like most of the other states, has set the threshold of 0.08% for the DUI charge. It may be very costly even if the person is convicted for the first time. According to the Law Offices of Jonathan D. Marshall, here are some of the expenses associated with the DUI conviction that may vary around the following:

Court costs 0-33 $

DWI enforcement fund surcharge 100 $

Safe Neighborhood Services Funds charge  50 $

Physicians fee 0-20 $

Various assessments 6 $

Alcohol Education, Rehabilitation and Enforcement fund 100 $

IDRC per day 75 $

Driving license restoration fee 100 $

Merit Rating Plan surcharge 3,000 $

Merit Rating Plan Point Assessment  525 – 675 $

If DWI happens in a school zone, the penalty is extended to suspending the driving privilege for a year or two more, a fine makes 500 $ to 800 $, and jail time is up to 60 days.  

Consult with a lawyer

As can be seen, DWI and DUI first offense fines and penalties differ greatly depending on the circumstances and given situation such as age, previous criminal history, the place where it happened, the vehicle involved (commercial or private), etc. 

There are various strategies a defendant can utilize if charged with DWI. Trying to deal with it alone may be challenging and confusing. Doing it alone may not bring good results and is not recommended. Thus, it would be best to get professional advice from a seasoned DWI attorney to study the given case thoroughly and offer the best defense strategies under specific circumstances.