Traffic Violations

What To Know About Your DUI Charges and Case

New Jersey statute 39:4-50 defines drunk driving as operating any motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater. If a driver is found to be intoxicated while driving, they are charged with a DUI offense and can face severe penalties. A DUI lawyer in New Jersey can help drivers understand their charges and build a case in their defense. A DUI charge does not always lead to a conviction, and even if convicted, drivers can still lessen their penalties with the right attorney on their side.

What is a DUI Charge?

DUI (driving under the influence) is a traffic violation. Unlike other states, New Jersey does not criminalize DUI offenses. However, there are cases and circumstances that can turn a DUI charge into a federal DUI charge. Regular DUI charges from New Jersey will not show up in background checks. But a successful conviction will show up on your driving record. This can cause insurance companies to raise your premium or even refuse to insure you. DUI charges can be complex, and working with a DUI lawyer in New Jersey can help you make sense of it all.

What are the Penalties for a DUI Charge?

If convicted, a DUI charge carries hefty penalties for drivers. Driving in New Jersey is considered a privilege, not a right. Violating traffic laws and rules can often result in the loss of those privileges. Driver’s license suspension isn’t the only penalty a DUI charge carries. The specific penalties depend on your driving record and blood alcohol content levels.

Penalties for a First Offense

The first offense for a DUI charge is a bit more complex than other cases. The first offense is the only instance where the specific BAC matters in relation to the severity of penalties. The consequences for a first-offense DUI are as follows:

For BAC between .08% and .10%

  • Fines up to $400
  • Imprisonment up to 30 days
  • Driver’s license suspension until an ignition interlock device is installed
  • Continued use of an interlock for three months
  • Attendance at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for a minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days
  • Insurance surcharge of up to $1,000 a year for three years

For BAC between .10% and .15%

  • Fines up to $500
  • Imprisonment up to 30 days
  • Driver’s license suspension until an ignition interlock device is installed
  • Continued use of an interlock for seven months to a year
  • Attendance at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for a minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days
  • Insurance surcharge of up to $1,000 a year for three years

BAC over .15%

  • Fines up to $500
  • Imprisonment up to 30 days
  • Driver’s license suspension for four to six months with the inclusion of an ignition interlock device installed
  • Continued use of an interlock for nine to fifteen months after the suspension period
  • Attendance at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for a minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days
  • Insurance surcharge of up to $1,000 a year for three years

Penalties for a Second Offense

If a driver is convicted of a second DUI charge, the penalties are much more severe. They include:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Imprisonment for a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 90 days
  • License suspension for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years with the inclusion of an ignition interlock device installed
  • Continued use of an interlock for two to four years after the suspension period
  • Completion of an evaluation program at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for
  • Community Service for 30 days
  • Insurance surcharge of up to $1,000 a year for three years
DUI Lawyer In New Jersey
Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Penalties for Third and Subsequent Offenses

If a driver is convicted of subsequent DUI charges, the penalties increase drastically. They include:

  • A fine of $1,000
  • Imprisonment for 180 days (the court may rule to split jail time with residency in an inpatient rehabilitation program up to 90 days)
  • License suspension for eight years with the inclusion of an ignition interlock device installed
  • Continued use of an interlock for two to four years after the suspension period
  • Completion of an evaluation program at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • Community service for 30 days
  • Insurance surcharge up to $1,500 a year for three years

Associated DUI Charges

While a regular DUI charge alone is enough to cause some panic and frustration, it can be combined with other traffic violations. Some such violations may even move the entire case into federal jurisdiction, meaning that it will be treated as a criminal offense. 

DUI with a Minor Passenger

Driving while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 17 adds a disorderly persons offense to a DUI charge. Additional penalties include an additional six months of license suspension and five days of community service.

Underage DUI

According to New Jersey law, underage drivers can face charges and conviction of a DUI for having any detectable trace of alcohol in their system. This zero-tolerance law means an underaged driver can face harsh penalties even if their BAC is under .08%. Penalties include license suspension of up to 90 days, up to 30 days of community service, and participation in an alcohol and traffic safety education program.

Refusal to Take Breathalyzer Test

When you drive on a public New Jersey road, you are giving consent to take a breathalyzer test if prompted. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test can not only result in fines and license suspension, but it may even harm your DUI case and potential to build a strong defense.

Get Help from a DUI Lawyer in New Jersey

If you face DUI charges, don’t go it alone. Attorney Leon Matchin is an experienced and knowledgeable DUI lawyer in New Jersey who can help defend your case. Call Attorney Matchin today at (833) 732-7320, or email him at leon@matchin.intersectwp.com to schedule a consultation about your case and learn how he can help you understand and fight your DUI charges.

Let’s connect!

Fill out the form on the right and get in touch with us.

Free Consultation

Free Consultation

Checkboxes