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Sutnick & Sutnick Attorneys at Law's Blog

Sutnick & Sutnick Attorneys at Law's Blog

The penalties for a first DWI conviction in New Jersey

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2021 | Drunk Driving |

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in New Jersey. When a driver has more than 0.08% of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), they commit the crime of driving while intoxicated (DWI). The penalties for a first-time DWI conviction are not as harsh as those for second or third-time offenders. However, penalties for a first-time DWI involve imprisonment and fines, which vary depending on the amount of alcohol a person had in their blood while driving.

Penalties

The penalties for a first DWI offense vary depending on the amount of alcohol in a driver’s blood. The higher the amount of alcohol in the blood, the harsher the penalties will be for the driver. The different penalties for a first DWI offense are:

BAC over 0.08% but less than 0.10%:

  • A fine of $250-$400
  • Imprisonment for up to 30 days
  • Suspension of driver’s license until the installation of the ignition interlock device
  • Use of the ignition interlock device for 3 months
  • 6 hours a day for 2 consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • An insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.

BAC over 0.10% but less than 0.15%:

  • A fine of $300-$500
  • Imprisonment for up to 30 days
  • Driver’s license suspension until the installation of the ignition interlock device
  • Use of the ignition interlock device for 7 months to a year
  • 6 hours a day for 2 consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • An insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.

Drivers with a BAC higher than 0.15% must comply with the same penalties as those with a BAC over 0.10%, except for the fact that those with a BAC higher than 0.15% must install the ignition interlock device for 13 to 21 months. The ignition interlock device requires the driver to provide a breath sample for the vehicle to start.

Driving with a minor in the car

In addition to those penalties, a driver could face an additional criminal charge if they drove while intoxicated with a passenger less than 17 years old. In that case, the driver would also commit a disorderly person offense. The court will punish this offense with a sentence of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Also, the accused would lose their driving privileges for up to 6 months, and they would have to complete 5 days of community service.

The right for defense

A DWI charge does not necessarily lead to a conviction. If the authorities did not administer the chemical test properly or failed to comply with the established arrest procedures, the court could release the driver’s charges. Anyone accused of driving while intoxicated has the right to fight back and prove their innocence to the court. By doing so, a driver could avoid the harsh penalties that come with this conviction in New Jersey.

 

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