DUI & DWI in New Jersey
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If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, you will be cited for driving under the influence (DUI).
The state of New Jersey takes DUI very seriously and has imposed harsh penalties on people who break the law.
New Jersey's implied consent law requires you to take a breath test after an arrest for DUI. If you refuse and are detained, a blood sample may be taken, and you'll be subject to even harsher penalties than the regular penalties for DUI infractions.
The following are the penalties for driving under the influence; they vary according to BAC level and how many times you've been caught:
First offense with BAC of .08% but less than .10%: You'll lose your license for three months, pay a fine ranging from $250 to $400, mandatory 12 to 48 hour stay at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) with related fees, and insurance surcharges of $1,000 a year for three years. You may also be required to spend up to 30 days in jail.
First offense with BAC of .10% or higher: You'll lose your license for seven months up to one year, $300 to $500 fine, mandatory IDRC stay of 12 to 48 hours with related fees, and insurance surcharges of $1,000 a year for three years. You may also be required to spend up to 30 days in jail.
Second offense within 10 years of the first offense: You'll lose your license for at least two years, pay fines of $500 to $1,000, insurance surcharges of $1,000 a year for three years, mandatory IDRC stay of 12 to 48 hours with related fees (or 30 days of community service), and a possible jail stay of 48 hours to 90 days.
Third offense within 10 years of the second offense: You'll lose your license for 10 years, pay a $1,000 fine, insurance surcharges of $1,500 a year for three years, mandatory IDRC of 12 to 48 hours with related fees (or up to 90 days of community service), and a possible jail stay of 180 days.
The state has a resource center in every county for first and third offenders and three regional centers for second offenders. Each offender attends an alcohol and highway safety education program at a center and is evaluated for an alcohol or drug problem. If it is determined that treatment is needed, the offender is referred to an appropriate provider for treatment with a 16-week minimum.
The offender also has an opportunity to supplement this treatment with attendance at a self-help group, with both being extended to a maximum of one year. The centers monitor compliance and report any noncompliance to the courts and to Motor Vehicle Services (MVS). Failure to comply on the part of the offender results in further license suspension and a possible jail sentence as well.
The Ignition Interlock Device
First and repeat DUI offenders may be required to use an ignition interlock device. In this situation, the driver must blow into the device, and the vehicle will not start if that person's blood alcohol content exceeds 0.05%.
If you are required to have an interlock installed, you must present proof of installation in person at a Regional Service Center for restoration of your driving privilege.
Getting a DUI is a serious offense, and you should know your rights and responsibilities. It's often a smart idea to hire an attorney to help you wade through the legalities and to make sure you aren't getting an unwarranted penalty.
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