New Penalties for DWI in New Jersey
New Jersey has new DWI law and penalties everyone should be aware of. Starting December 1, 2019 anyone convicted of DWI in New Jersey, even first time offenders, will have to install a ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device has been used in the past but at the discretion of Municipal Judges. The device requires the operator of the vehicle to provide a breath sample to start the car. In essence it prevents anyone from driving with alcohol on their breath. While the interlock is nothing new the new law has changed the penalties for first time offenders.
For first-time DWI offenders, the penalties are based on the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the time of the offense. The consequences for a first DUI conviction in New Jersey are as follows:
- BAC of .08% to .10% – must install ignition interlock device at your own cost and use for 3 months; Driver’s license suspension until ignition interlock is installed in your vehicle.
- BAC of 0.10 to 0.15% – must install ignition interlock device at your own cost and use for between 7 months and 1 year; Driver’s license suspension until ignition interlock is installed in your vehicle.
- BAC at or above 0.15% – must install ignition interlock device at your own cost and use for between 9 months and 15 months; Driver’s license suspension of between 4 months and 6 months.
It is important to note that there are additional penalties for first DUI charges in NJ as well, including a fine ranging from $250 to $500, between 12 hours and 48 hours spent during two consecutive days at an Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center, and a sentence of up to 30 days in the county jail. A DWI can also result in a increase in your insurance rates and years of surcharges.
2nd, 3rd, and Subsequent DWI Penalties, Any Change?
This set of changes to New Jersey’s DWI laws also includes new penalties for second, third and subsequent DUI offenses. While a second DWI offense previously resulted in a mandatory 2-year driver’s license suspension, these offenses are now punishable by license suspension of between 1 year and 2 years. Upon conviction for your second DWI, you will also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for between 2 and 4 years. For a third or subsequent DWI offense, the period of license suspension has been reduced from 10 years to 8 years. In addition, these violations are punishable by mandatory installation of an interlock device for a period ranging from 2 to 4 years.
Is there anything I can do to Avoid a Conviction for DUI in NJ?
A DWI charge does not automatically equal a conviction. Considering the other consequences you face even for a first-time DUI , you can and should still fight these charges in court. Contact Michael Stanzione at (732)-349-1212 to talk to a skilled DWI Defense Lawyer about your arrest and how we can help defend you against a DUI conviction in court.