Drunk driving penalties in New Jersey

New Jersey is one of the few states that does not impose felony charges for drunk driving offenses but it is helpful to know what penalties can be faced.

Drivers in New Jersey face some very severe laws concerning arrests and convictions for driving while under the influence of alcohol. Even though Mothers Against Drunk Driving notes that New Jersey is one of the few states that does not impose felony charges for drunk driving offenses, that does not mean there cannot be serious penalties faced by drivers convicted of these charges.

According to the state of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website, a blood alcohol level of at least .08 percent is all that is needed to determine intoxication. This is done via testing at the time of arrest. The official website for the state of New Jersey notes that any person who refuses a breath test can be fined up to $500 and lose driving privileges for up to one year for a first offense.

What Are DUI or DWI Conviction Penalties in New Jersey?

The penalties for a DWI conviction in New Jersey can be different based upon the blood alcohol level of the driver at the time an arrest is made. Some of these penalties for first offenses include the following:

  • If a driver's blood alcohol level is between .08 percent and .99 percent, driving privileges can be suspended for three months and prison terms can be up to 30 days. In addition, drivers can be forced to pay up to $400 in fines and spend between 12 and 48 hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, or IDRC.
  • If a driver's blood alcohol level is between .10 percent and .14 percent, driving privileges can be suspended for up to one year and prison terms can be up to 30 days. In addition, drivers can be forced to pay up to $400 in fines and spend between 12 and 48 hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, or IDRC.
  • Drivers with blood alcohol levels of .15 percent or greater will have the same penalties of those with levels between .10 and .14 percent, but will also be required to use ignition interlock devices during their license suspension periods and for up to one year after privileges are fully reinstated.

All drivers will also be forced to pay additional fees to the IDRC, an Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund and a Neighborhood Fund. For a period of three years, drivers will also pay an additional $1,000 surcharge to maintain driving privileges.

Help Is Important

With the severe consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction in New Jersey, any driver who is arrested on such charges should contact a lawyer promptly. The right experience is important with this type of defense.

Keywords: drunk driving, penalties, arrest