DUI or DWI Punishments and Penalties

By Davis Law Firm | March 13, 2020

Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated are both serious legal charges that can affect many areas of your life. In addition to the immediate arrest, you will also likely face expensive fines and you could potentially even lose your driver’s license. While driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in all of the U.S. states, each state has different laws for what constitutes a DUI or DWI, as well as different legal consequences.

We wrote a detailed blog on the differences between a misdemeanor DUI charge and an aggravated DUI charge. Click the link to learn more.

DUI/DWI Laws in New Jersey

New Jersey laws include both driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence of drugs in the same legal category. The penalties are the same for both. DUI/DWI legal consequences are determined by the following factors:

  • Whether or not the individual has previous offenses: First-time offenders will sometimes qualify for a reduced sentence or drug and alcohol classes and probation in lieu of jail time. However, individuals with numerous DUI/DWI offenses may face the fullest extent of the potential legal consequences.
  •  The BAC level at the time of arrest: The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level in New Jersey is 0.08%. Higher BAC levels can indicate higher charges.

The court will consider both of these factors when determining the appropriate charges.

Number of Offenses and Legal Consequences

First-time offenders will usually have more room to negotiate a lesser sentence, especially if you can demonstrate that you know you made a mistake. The number of offenses can affect legal charges in the following ways:

First-time offenders

First-time offenders with a BAC of less than 0.10% can face the following legal consequences:

  • Minimum jail time of 12 hours, maximum jail time of 30 days
  • Legal fines between $250-$400
  • Other legal fees
  • Ignition Interlock requirements
  • Mandatory alcohol classes
  • Substance abuse assessment

First-time offenders with a BAC higher than 0.10% might face additional legal consequences, which include:

  • Legal fines between $300-$500
  • Suspended driver’s license for a minimum of seven months and a maximum of one year
  • Longer substance abuse classes
  • Additional substance abuse assessments

Other factors can worsen the consequences expected from a DUI/DWI legal charge, even a first-time offense, including:

  • Location: Individuals convicted of a DUI/DWI in a school or construction zone might face more severe consequences
  • Weapons: Individuals with weapons or other illegal paraphernalia might also face additional consequences
  • Resisting arrest: Resisting arrest can also worsen the legal charges

To learn more about first-time DUI penalties, click here.

Secondary Offenders

Secondary offenders tend to face more severe legal consequences and it can be harder to receive a reduced sentencing. Secondary offenses face the following consequences:

  • Legal fines between $500-$1,000
  • Minimum of 30 days of community service
  • Minimum of two days of jail time, maximum of 90 days
  • Minimum suspended driver’s license of two years
  • Ignition interlock
  • Auto insurance increases
  • Required substance abuse classes

In addition to these costs, secondary offenders will also face additional court surcharges.

Third-Degree Offenders

Third-degree offenders face the following legal consequences:

  • Minimum of $1,000 legal fine
  • 90-day community service
  • Required substance abuse classes
  • 180 days of jail time
  • Minimum of 10 years of a suspended driver’s license
  • Ignition interlock
  • Insurance increases

Third-degree offenders will find it the most difficult to have their legal charges reduced. In most cases, jail time is a requirement.

Contact an Experienced Lawrence DWI Defense Attorney About Your Drunk Driving Charges in New Jersey

Have you been charged with a DWI or DUI offense in New Jersey? A drunk driving conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified DWI defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at the Davis Law Firm, LLC represent clients charged with drunk driving, Alcotest refusal and related offenses in Trenton, East Windsor, West Windsor, Hopewell, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 498-7722 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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