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DUI & DWI in New Jersey

Arrested for a DUI or DWI?

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The state of New Jersey takes driving under the influence (DUI or DWI) very seriously and has imposed harsh penalties on people who break the law. If you are caught driving under the influence of intoxicants or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, you will be cited for (DUI). If you are under 21 years old the legal limit is 0.0.01%. For CDL drivers the limit is 0.04%.

The laws in NJ are quite complex when dealing with a DUI or DWI charges. Not to mention surcharges, points and other penalties given out by the Motor Vehicle Commission.

One of the most important things to know is that New Jersey, like many other states, has an implied consent law. This law requires you to take a breath test. If you refuse and are detained, a blood sample may be taken, and you'll be subject to penalties. If you refuse a chemical test you will lose your license for 7 to 12 months and have to pay a fine from $300 to $500.

The Penalties

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 0.08% but less than 0.10%:

  • License suspension: 3 months.
  • Imprisonment: Maximum 30 days.
  • Fine: $250 to $400.
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC): Mandatory 12 to 48 hours.
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) Fee: $230.
  • Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund Fee: $100
  • Drunk Driving Fund: $100
  • Neighborhood Services Fund: $75
  • Surcharges: $1,000 per year for 3 years.

First offense with BAC of 0.10% or higher:

  • License suspension: 7 to 12 months.
  • Imprisonment: Maximum 30 days.
  • Fine: $300 to $500.
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC): Mandatory 12 to 48 hours.
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) Fee: $230.
  • Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund Fee: $100
  • Drunk Driving Fund: $100
  • Neighborhood Services Fund: $75
  • Surcharges: $1,000 per year for 3 years.
  • Ignition Interlock Device (IID): 6 months to 1 year after license is restored if BAC was 0.15% or over.

First offense DUI under 21 years old :

If you are under 21 years old and you drive with a BAC of anything over 0.01% you may face all of the fines and imprisonments times above and:

  • License suspension: 30 to 90 days.
  • Community service: 15 to 30 days.
  • Mandatory Alcohol and Highway Safety Education with IDRC.

If you are not licensed and under 17 years old at the time of the charges your license processing may take an additional 30 to 90 days.

Second offenses carry harsher imprisonment times as well as higher fines. Visit the New Jersey MVC website to learn more about DUI penalties.

The IDRC

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 treatment is required then the offender must complete a minimum of 16 weeks in a program.

The offender also has an opportunity to supplement this treatment with attendance at a self-help group. The centers monitor compliance and report any noncompliance to the courts and to Motor Vehicle Commission. 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 (IID)

DUI offenders will be required to have a ignition interlock device installed if you BAC was 0.15% or over and or this is not your first DUI. If this is not your first DUI then you may be required to have an IID in your vehicle while your license is suspended and then for 1 to 3 years after your license is restored.

In this situation, the driver must blow into the device, and the vehicle will not start if that person's blood alcohol content exceeds a certain level.

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.

Driver's License Reinstatement

Once your suspension period is over you will receive a Notice of Restoration from the MVC. The first step to restoring your license is to pay the $100 restoration fee. You can do this online, in person or by mail. Once you have paid your fee you will have to complete all the steps for a driver's license renewal and any other requirements on your Notice of Restoration.

Legal Representation

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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