What Are the Penalties for a DWI in New Jersey?

  • DWI

DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated, is the tag given to any offenses committed by a motorist while under the influence of alcohol, or, at times, other drug substances, although the punishment is not usually the same for the two cases. In New Jersey, the driver does not have to set the car in motion. Just having the mere intention to drive, and getting behind the wheels, and, maybe, starting the ignition. It is a very serious offense that can attract jail time for up to 10 years. So whenever you are charged with such offense, it is best you get the services of a DWI Lawyer in New Jersey to help you.

DWI Penalties

The laws in New Jersey divides DWI into two subgroups in which drivers can be found guilty of Standard DWI: This is when you are driving while intoxicated that can be proven by your blood alcohol concentration (BAC)

DWI per se: Here, the officer only has to take to prove by tests that you were indeed intoxicated. It does not matter if you displayed obvious signs or not. Once your BAC is above 0.8%, it is enough to convict you for the offense.

An officer can also convict you if you have a history of DWI cases.

Penalties For A DWI

The penalties for a DWI range from fines to suspension of your license, to jail time and so forth. It all depends on whether it is your first conviction, or if you have a history of DWI conviction cases. However, regardless of if it is your first time or not, you would still be required to fulfill certain conditions like paying

  •       A $50 fee for Violent Crime Compensation fund
  •       A $100 fee for an Intoxicated Driving Program
  •       A $75 fee for a Safe and Secure Community Program
  •       A $100 restoration fee for Motor Vehicle Commission
  •       A $100 surcharge to be deposited in the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund

Added to these, a judge could order that your vehicle registration be revoked. The judge may also order that an ignition interlock device be installed into any car you intend to drive. This device measures the blood alcohol level of the driver at any time and is placed just near the steering. The driver is required to breathe into it just before they start their car. Should, perhaps, the driver fails to present himself for a chemical test, that is either with a blood or urine sample, your license gets suspended automatically.

First Time Conviction

If it is the first time you are getting convicted of a DWI, the penalties you would be facing could be mild, but still severe on a whole. If found guilty, you risk

  •       Spending 30 days in Jail
  •       Having your license suspended for up to three months
  •       Compulsory community service

All these are if your BAC result shows your alcohol level to be below 0.8%. If it is higher than that, however, the license suspension could be up to seven or ten months. Plus you also get to use an ignition interlock device. Also regardless of your alcohol level, you get to pay $1000 every year for 3 years to the Motor Vehicle Commission.

Second Time Conviction

If it is the second time you are getting convicted for a DWI, the penalties could be more severe, and more strict. They include

  •       Prison time for up to 90 days
  •       Your license could be suspended for up to 2 years
  •       Compulsory use of an ignition interlock device
  •       30 days Community service

Also, you get to pay $1,000 per year for 3 years to the Motor Vehicle Commission

Third Time Conviction

A third-time conviction can only happen if it falls within 10 years since the second conviction. This time, the penalties are stiffer and are more serious.

  •       90 days of community service
  •       Your license could be suspended for up to 10 years
  •       Using the ignition interlock device for up to 3 years after getting your license back
  •       Up to 6 months of prison time

Plus you get to pay $1500 per year to the Motor Vehicle Commission, and pay a $1000 fine if it happens within a school zone. Also, you would have to spend up to 2 days in an intoxicated driver resource center, and still get to be housed in an alcohol treatment center. Having a DWI Lawyer in New Jersey can help reduce your sentences, and plead a better deal for you.

The penalties surrounding a DWI could become stiffer depending on the circumstances surrounding them. For example, if you were caught with a suspended license while convicted for a DWI, the punishment includes

  •       Additional license suspension for up to 2 years.
  •       Imprisonment for up to 3 months
  •       A $500 fine.
  •       Having your motor vehicle registration revoked.

Driving with a minor also gets its own punishment, such as losing the right to drive for six months, plus community service for up to five days.

New Jersey DWI Laws

Generally, a DWI is regarded as a misdemeanor, which means it is not so serious a crime. But this could change if there are extra circumstances surrounding it, such as colliding with another car, or damaging other people’s property while driving. Then, you could be sued for damages, as you would have to pay for compensation. If however, you kill someone as a result of your actions, then the matter becomes more serious. Then the matter becomes a felony, and you would now be charged for killing someone, according to the New Jersey laws.

DWI is a very serious matter and can lead you to lose your license for up to 10 years, not to mention the fines and the prospect of spending time in prison. However, having a good attorney on your side could help limit your sentences and make sure you do not lose your license for that long. He can help you with the legal paperwork, and also schedule your court visits. Also, he can help look for ways your case can be lighter. You may end up just paying fines without having your license seized, or spending time in prison. So contact a DWI Lawyer in New Jersey today to help take care of all your DWI problems.

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Steven W. Hernandez, Board-Certified DUI Attorney

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