Being charged with a DUI is a serious matter. Drunk driving is an issue that law enforcement and courts feel strongly about and are proactive in fighting. The only scientific way to establish the amount of alcohol in a person’s system is through the assessment of one’s blood alcohol content (BAC). For both states, the legal limit of alcohol is 0.08% BAC. If you have been charged with a DUI in New Jersey, you need a firm that can develop a comprehensive defense strategy to fight these accusations. If you need our help, contact The Vigilante Law Firm for a consultation with an experienced DWI lawyer.
What Happens When I Get a DWI?
Being charged with a first offense DWI can be scary, overwhelming, and stressful. This is especially true for individuals who have never been arrested before and don’t know what to expect. The Vigilante Law Firm is here to guide you through each step of the DWI process and wants to ensure you know what to expect in the event that you are charged.
- What happens when I am pulled over? When police suspect you of driving under the influence, they may pull your vehicle over or you may be pulled to the side of the road during a DUI checkpoint. The police officer will conduct a series of field sobriety tests and likely ask that you take a chemical breath test. In New Jersey, the officer must abide by the 20-minute rule before asking that you take a breath test. If you deny a breath test, you may find yourself in more trouble. If it is determined that you are intoxicated, you will be arrested and transported to the police station.
- What happens at the police station? Once you arrive at the police station, your BAC will be tested again, either through an Alcotest, a blood test, or a urine sample. Unless you are charged with another offense like drug possession, you will likely be released from police custody. Be aware that in NJ, your vehicle will be impounded for 12 hours and you cannot retrieve it until after this time.
- What happens after my arrest? After your arrest, a ticket will be issued to you from the police station. You will also be issued a court date, so it is important that you retain the services of a New Jersey DWI attorney. At the arraignment, the judge will ask whether you plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, you will receive a date to go to trial. If you plead guilty, you will receive your sentence at the arraignment.
Penalties for a First Offense DWI
A first offense conviction of a DWI in New Jersey between 0.08% and 0.10% comes with the following penalties:
- A maximum of 30 days of incarceration
- $1,000 surcharge each year for 3 years
- A fine between $250 and $400
- 12-48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and applicable fees
- A $100 fee for the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund
- A $100 Drunk Driving Fund fee
- A $75 Neighborhood Services Fund fee
- Ignition interlock device installation for 3 months
If you were charged with a DWI before December 1, 2019, you will be subject to a driver’s license suspension of 3 months instead of an ignition interlock device installation of 3 months.
A conviction of a DWI with a blood alcohol content between 0.10%-0.15% comes with the following penalties:
- Forfeiture of your license until you install the ignition interlock device
- Prison up to 30 days
- 12-48 hours in the IDRC
- A fine between $300-$500
- $230 IDRC fee
- $100 drunk driving fund fine
- $100 to AERF
- $1000/ year for 3 years
- $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund
- IID installation between 7-12 months
If a person is caught with a BAC of 0.15% or greater, they are subjected to an ignition interlock device for up to 18 months, and they may face a license forfeiture of up to 6 months. Repeat offenders are subjected to escalated consequences, including more jail time, higher fines, great periods of license suspension, and mandatory use of the ignition interlock device.
Second Offense DWI
In the state of New Jersey, anyone who is charged with a second offense DWI will face serious consequences. If you are charged with a DWI for the second time within 10 years of your previous offense, the consequences you may face include the following:
- Up to 90 days of incarceration
- Driver’s license suspension for 2 years
- A fine between $500 and $1000
- 12-48 hours served at the NJ Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
- $100 to the Drunk Driving Fund
- $75 to the Neighborhood Services Fund
- Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
Third Offense DWI
If you have been charged with a third or subsequent DWI in the state of New Jersey over the course of 10 years, the penalties become even more severe. These may include:
- A maximum of 180 days of incarceration
- Driver’s license suspension for 10 years
- A $1,500 surcharge each year for 3 years
- 12-48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
- $100 to the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund
- $100 to the Drunk Driving Fund
- $75 Neighborhood Services Fund
- A $1000 fine
- Mandatory ignition interlock device
If an underage person in new Jersey has a blood alcohol content of 0.01 percent or higher, they can face an underage DWI charge. This may result in the following penalties:
- A driver’s license suspension between 30 and 90 days
- 15-30 days of community service
- IDRC program completion
- Various fees and fines
DWI for Intoxicated Passengers
If a vehicle owner allows an intoxicated person to operate his or her motor vehicle, they can also be charged with a DWI. These situations can even result in a passenger facing more serious penalties than the driver if the passenger were to already have a previous DWI on their record.
DWI For Out of State Drivers
If you are licensed to drive outside of New Jersey, you will still face the same consequences as an N.J. resident upon getting charged with a DWI within the state. While New Jersey cannot suspend your driving privileges everywhere, they can bar you from driving within the state.
What Happens to Auto Insurance?
A DWI can have significant impacts on a driver’s auto insurance policy. In New Jersey, your insurance premium may rise between 72% and 132% when charged with a DUI, depending on a variety of other factors.
Contact An Effective DWI Lawyer
Being charged with DUI/DWI in the state of New Jersey is a very serious matter. A person can face various consequences that could impact one’s future ability to get a job, housing, and other opportunities. It is important to discuss this matter with an experienced legal team as soon as possible. If you need an effective legal team to explore all legal defenses to fight these charges, contact The Vigilante Law Firm for a consultation with an experienced DWI lawyer.