The severity of penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) depend on the amount of alcohol in your blood and the number of prior DWI violations you have. It is important to note that New Jersey recognizes DWI offenses committed in other states and counts them toward the total number of DWI offenses a person has. For example, if a person has two DWI offenses in New York and then gets a DWI in New Jersey, that person will receive penalties in New Jersey for a third offense, even though the previous two were committed out-of-state.

Penalties can include fines, jail time, loss of driver’s license, participation in a program at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center (IDRC), and even use of an ignition interlock device. The penalties are enumerated in N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. (Updated through the latest revision made on January 14, 2010.)

First Offense DWI in NJ

There are two categories or tiers of penalties for first offense DWI. The legal limit in New Jersey is .08% of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The first category is the lesser of the two for a BAC between .08% and .10%. The second category is for a BAC of .10% or higher.

.08% to .10%:

•· Fines of $250- $400

•· Jail time of up to 30 days

•· Loss of driver’s license for up to 3 months

•· IDRC for 12-48 hours

•· Interlock device for 6 months to 1 year (court’s discretion)

.10% and above:

•· Fines of $300 to $500

•· Jail time of up to 30 days

•· Loss of driver’s license for 7 months to 1 year

•· IDRC for 12-48 hours

•· Mandatory interlock device for 6 months to 1 year if BAC is .15% or above (in addition to period of license suspension)

Second Offense DWI in NJ

The penalties for a second offense are higher than a first offense, and there is no disparity of penalties for different levels of BAC.

.08 and above:

•· Fines of $500 to $1,000

•· Jail time of up to 90 days

•· Loss of driver’s license for 2 years

•· IDRC for 48 hours

•· Community service for 30 days

•· Mandatory interlock device for 1 to 3 years (in addition to period of license suspension)

The experienced DWI lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall may be able to lessen your penalties from a second offense to a first offense, if not just defeat the charge entirely. Our attorneys thoroughly examine the facts of this case and your prior DWI case, the validity of the initial traffic stop, the manner in which the stop was conducting, any flaws in the evidence on which the State relies to make its case, and even the Breathalyzer or Alcotest machine results and maintenance records.

Additionally, if your first DWI offense was a refusal charge, State law classifies you as a first-time offender for your second DWI offense (as of 2011….the case law may change on this). However, if your first DWI charge was actually a DWI and your second charge was refusal, you are still classified as a second-time DWI offender, and your penalties will line up with that of a second DWI offense.

Third or Subsequent DWI Offense in NJ

Penalties for a third offense, or for any DWI offense afterward, are the most severe and include a 10-year license suspension, which will significantly impact a person’s day-to-day life and quality of living. The penalties for a person with three or more offenses are as follows:

.08% and above:

•· Fines totaling $1,000

•· Jail time for 180 days

•· Loss of driver’s license for 10 years

•· IDRC is determined on a case-by-case basis

•· Mandatory interlock device for 1 to 3 years (in addition to the period of license suspension)

If you or someone you know has been charged with a third or subsequent DWI offense, it is important that you contact an experienced DWI lawyer for assistance. Under certain circumstances surrounding your charges, it is possible that you could lose your license permanently. Our experienced defense team will be able to analyze your charges, and may be able to challenge your prior convictions and reduce your sentence. A successful challenge could lessen penalties of third offenses to those of a second offense, including knocking down loss of license from 10 years to 2 years. Our attorneys may also challenge the custodial aspect of your sentence and keep you out of jail.