DUI Penalties

DUI Penalties in New Jersey

Hackensack DUI Attorney Helping Clients Avoid DUI Penalties in NJ

New Jersey imposes some of the harshest DWI penalties in the entire country, with judges and prosecutors often looking to “send a message” that drunk driving will not be tolerated in the Garden State. For many years, anyone convicted of a DWI in NJ has learned the hard way that it is not a good idea to drink and drive. Now those penalties are even harsher, thanks to recent changes to New Jersey DWI laws. A conviction for drunk driving, drugged driving, or Breath Test Refusal could result in jail time, license suspension, monetary penalties and fines, and other negative consequences.

If you have been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, you need an experienced DWI defense attorney on your side. Frank T. Luciano is a Hackensack DUI attorney with nearly four decades of experience handling DWI cases throughout New Jersey, including Bergen County, Monmouth County, and Middlesex County. Call or email Mr. Luciano today to discuss your legal options.

DWI Penalties in Fort Lee, New Jersey

NJ law enforcement is known for cracking down on drunk driving, particularly on weekends and during the holidays when police often set up sobriety checkpoints across the state. If you are caught drinking and driving in New Jersey, the consequences could be severe and long-lasting. That’s because recent amendments to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, the state’s DWI law, went into effect on December 1, 2019. While these changes to the NJ DWI law reduced the period of time that a first-time DWI offender’s license can be suspended, they also made it mandatory for anyone convicted of a DWI to install an ignition interlock device on their car. Previously, ignition interlock devices were only required for repeat DUI offenders.

First DWI Offense – BAC of .08% but less than .10%

Jail: Up to 30 days

License Suspension: Until interlock installed

Ignition Interlock Device: 3 months

Fine: $250 to $400

DWI Surcharge: $125

DDEF Surcharge: $100

Assessments: $6

Courts Costs: Up to $33

SNSF: $75

VCCO: $50

IDRC: 12 to 48 hours

First DWI Offense – BAC of .10% but less than .15%

Jail: Up to 30 days

License Suspension: Until interlock installed

Ignition Interlock Device: 7 months to 1 year

Fine: $300 to $500

DWI Surcharge: $125

DDEF Surcharge: $100

Assessments: $6

Courts Costs: Up to $33

SNSF: $75

VCCO: $50

IDRC: 12 to 48 hours

First DWI Offense – BAC of .15% or higher

Jail: Up to 30 days

License Suspension: 4 to 6 months

Ignition Interlock Device: 9 to 15 months

Fine: $300 to $500

DWI Surcharge: $125

DDEF Surcharge: $100

Assessments: $6

Courts Costs: Up to $33

SNSF: $75

VCCO: $50

IDRC: 12 to 48 hours

Second DWI Offense – BAC of .08% or higher

Jail: 2 days to 90 days

License Suspension: 1 to 2 years

Ignition Interlock Device: 2 to 4 years

Fine: $500 to $1,000

DWI Surcharge: $125

DDEF Surcharge: $100

Assessments: $6

Courts Costs: Up to $33

SNSF: $75

VCCO: $50

IDRC: Usually 48 hours

Third DWI Offense – BAC of .08% or higher

Jail: 6 months

License Suspension: 8 years

Ignition Interlock Device: 2 to 4 years

Fine: $1,000

DWI Surcharge: $125

DDEF Surcharge: $100

Assessments: $6

Courts Costs: Up to $33

SNSF: $75

VCCO: $50

IDRC: Based on treatment classification

Will I Go to Jail for a DWI in New Jersey?

You do not want to get convicted of drunk driving in NJ because it could put you behind bars. One of the major determining factors will be whether you have any prior DWI convictions. If this is your first DWI offense, there is some good news: most first-time DWI offenders in New Jersey are able to avoid incarceration. However, the statute still grants judges the discretion to sentence first-time drunk driving offenders to jail time. Even under the best circumstances, it’s possible that the judge could order you to serve a couple of days behind bars in the local county jail. And if your DUI violation was particularly serious and you registered a high blood alcohol content (BAC) or you caused a DWI accident, then you could be sentenced to as many as 30 days in the county jail for a first offense DUI.

If this is your second DUI offense within the last 10 years, New Jersey law calls for you to serve a mandatory jail sentence of at least two (2) days. And if this is your third DUI offense in NJ, the statute requires the judge to sentence you to a minimum of six (6) months in jail. Avoiding jail time in these types of cases is difficult but not impossible – if you have a skilled DWI defense attorney on your side. For instance, it may be possible to convince the prosecutor in your case to reduce the charges so that you do not face a minimum mandatory jail sentence, or it might be possible to appeal your earlier DWI conviction so that you are no longer charged as a repeat offender and exposed to significant jail time. Other defense options might include getting part of the jail sentence converted into attendance at alcohol education classes at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), or securing your admission into the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP) so that you can perform community service instead of going to jail.

The best way to avoid jail time for a DUI charge in New Jersey is to have an experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side. Do not wait to speak with a lawyer about your drunk driving case.

Will My License Be Suspended If I Plead Guilty to a DUI in Mahwah, NJ?

You could lose your driver’s license if you are convicted of drunk driving in New Jersey, depending on whether you are a repeat DUI offender. One of the most serious consequences of a DWI conviction is the loss of your driving privileges. Without a valid driver’s license, you will be unable to drive to work, school, or anywhere else. Worse yet, New Jersey does not allow restricted or hardship licenses, which means that you will have no other options while your driver’s license is suspended for a DUI. And if you roll the dice and attempt to operate a motor vehicle while your license is suspended, you could face criminal charges.

How long will your license be suspended if you are convicted of a DWI in New Jersey? The length of time is determined by a couple of factors: (1) your blood alcohol content (BAC) and (2) whether you have any prior DWI convictions. If you registered a particularly high BAC when law enforcement tested you for intoxication, you could be subject to enhanced penalties and a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license. Similarly, a conviction for a second or third DWI offense in New Jersey carries more severe penalties than a first offense DWI.

The bottom line is that, in many instances, license suspension is mandatory for a DUI conviction in NJ. You may also be subject to a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license if you are convicted of Breath Test Refusal. That’s why it is absolutely imperative that you talk to a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney as soon as possible and start building a strong defense against your New Jersey drunk driving charges.

Fines and Monetary Penalties for DUI in Elmwood Park, NJ

A DUI conviction could be incredibly costly for you. Under NJ law, anyone convicted of drunk driving is subject to significant fines, monetary penalties, and Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) surcharges that total thousands of dollars.

The fines for a DWI conviction in New Jersey vary, depending on the nature of your DWI offense and depending on whether you have prior drunk driving convictions on your record. These initial fines can range from $250 for a first offense DWI with a low blood alcohol content (BAC) all the way up to $2,000 for a DWI in a school zone. Beyond that, the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will assess surcharges once they are notified of your drunk driving conviction. A first-time offender is subject to an annual surcharge of $1,000 for a period of three years, while a third DWI offense will result in an annual surcharge of $1,500 for a period of three years. These expensive surcharges also apply if you are convicted of Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test.

In addition to levying fines against you for a DWI conviction, the judge will also impose monetary penalties to cover court costs and assess fees that must be paid to various New Jersey funds. For instance, NJ statutes require anyone convicted of drunk driving to pay fees to the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund, the Safe Neighborhoods Services Fund (SNSF), and the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO). Although you may be allowed to pay these fees in installments, you will have to pay them if you ever want to petition for the reinstatement of your driver’s license. Moreover, failure to pay court-ordered fees in your DWI case could result in the court issuing a warrant for your arrest.

What Are Some of the Other Consequences of a DUI Conviction in NJ?

Jail time, license suspension, and fines are just a few of the consequences you could face for a DUI conviction. The reality is that a drunk driving conviction will do serious damage to your life in a number of other ways:

  • Ignition Interlock Device: Under new DUI laws in New Jersey, the court will order you to install an ignition interlock device on your primary vehicle. This device is attached to the vehicle’s engine and requires you to blow a “clean” breath sample before the engine will start. For all repeat DWI offenders, the ignition interlock device must remain on the car for at least two (2) years.
  • Alcohol Education Classes: A person convicted of drunk driving in NJ is typically required to attend alcohol education classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). The DWI offender is also subject to evaluation and treatment at the IDRC facility. If you fail to attend the classes or complete the requirements of the NJ Intoxicated Driver Program, you will not be able to seek reinstatement of your driver’s license.
  • Community Service: Some first-time DWI offenders are ordered to perform community service, especially if the offender registered a high blood alcohol content (BAC). For repeat DWI offenders, community service is mandatory. The county probation department will monitor your compliance. Failure to fulfill your community service obligations is likely to be treated as a violation of an official court order and could result in you being sent to jail.
  • Higher Insurance Rates: Although your driver’s license will be suspended, you may be able to seek reinstatement after enough time has passed. However, that may not be the end of your driving troubles. That’s because your insurance premiums could be sky high once the insurance company learns of your DWI conviction. You could be labeled a “high-risk driver” and face double or even triple premiums. In the worst cases, your insurance may be canceled entirely and force you to pay exorbitant rates charged by another insurance provider.
  • Personal Consequences: Since a DWI is technically classified as a traffic offense in New Jersey, it is not possible to get the conviction expunged or removed from your driving record. This means that your DWI conviction could potentially haunt you for the rest of your life. Additionally, being labeled a “drunk driver” could damage your reputation, particularly if you need to explain your conviction to friends, family members, and co-workers. That’s because there is often a social stigma attached to drunk driving.

Free Consultation with Paramus Drunk Driving Lawyer Frank T. Luciano to Fight Your NJ DWI Charges

A DWI conviction can have serious consequences for you and your loved ones. The good news is that you have options when it comes to contesting your DWI charges and avoiding the most severe penalties in New Jersey. The first step is contacting an experienced DWI lawyer who can help you set goals for your case and build a strong defense against the charges.

Frank T. Luciano is a Paramus drunk driving attorney who will examine the facts of your case and then determine the best defense strategy. Call 973-471-0004 or fill out the online contact form today to schedule a free consultation with Mr. Luciano and start fighting your DUI charges.

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