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New Jersey DUI Penalties Explained by Experienced Criminal Law Attorneys

As a former prosecutor and long-time criminal defense attorney, Lance Brown understands the serious penalties that can be imposed for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey. The charts below give a brief overview of the consequences one can face in a New Jersey DUI/DWI conviction. When considering second or third offenses, the courts look back to any convictions in the previous ten years, commonly known as the lookback or washout period. Keep in mind that although a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% constitutes driving under the influence in New Jersey, a driver of a commercial vehicle is held to a lower standard of .04%, and a driver under 21 years old can be arrested for driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. It is also important to understand that you can be arrested with less than .08% if you have been drinking and your behavior indicates that you are intoxicated or your driving is impaired.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Penalties


License Suspension Jail Time Fines Fees License Surcharges Ignition Interlock
First Offense 3 months Up to 30 days $250-$400 $525 $1,000/year for 3 years Possible
Second Offense 2 years 2 days to 90 days $500-$1,000 $525 $1,000/year for 3 years 1-3 years
Third Offense 10 years 180 days $1,000 $525 $1,500/year for 3 years 1-3 years

Refusal to take Breath Test


License Suspension Jail Time Fines License Surcharges Ignition Interlock
First Offense 7 months – 1 year 12 hours $300-$500 $1,000/year for 3 years 6 mos. – 1 year
Second Offense 2 years 2 days $500-$1,000 $1,000/year for 3 years 1 year – 3 years
Third Offense 10 years 90 days $1,000 $1,500/year for 3 years 1 year – 3 years

These are just some of the penalties that may be imposed. You can also be ordered to attend a drunk driving program, perform community service, or undergo counseling and treatment. In addition, you can face enhanced penalties in a number of ways, including if you are stopped in a school zone or school crossing, if you have a minor in the vehicle at the time, or if you blow over .10% on a first offense. Perhaps the biggest additional penalty is the increase in your insurance rates. Persons convicted of drunk driving are required to obtain SR 22 automobile insurance to drive, which is much more expensive than regular insurance.

Experienced New Jersey DUI Attorneys Can Help

As you can see, a DUI conviction has serious and long-term consequences that can damage your pocketbook, deprive you of your liberty, and hurt your chances at getting or keeping the job you want. Fortunately, there are defenses available that can result in having the case dismissed or keep you from being convicted. It is also sometimes possible and preferable to plead to a charge of reckless driving, or “wet reckless,” with less serious penalties imposed. An experienced New Jersey DUI attorney can counsel you on your options and provide a strong and effective defense designed to get you the best possible result in your situation. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI/DWI in New Jersey, contact Lance Brown & Associates for help.

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