legal blood alcohol content level NJ

New Jersey has strict laws when it comes to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal blood alcohol content level in NJ is 0.08%. However, you could still face a DUI charge even if you have a lower BAC (blood alcohol content) level. If you have any level of alcohol or drugs in your system that affects your ability to drive safely, you could face serious consequences. Working with a DUI attorney in NJ can help you navigate the process and understand your case.

The Specifics of the Legal Blood Alcohol Content Level in NJ

While the legal blood alcohol level is 0.08%, first offenders can find themselves facing additional penalties for certain BAC levels. There are three ‘categories’ for first-time offenders:

  • <0.09%
  • 0.10-0.14%
  • >0.15%

Generally, the higher your BAC is, the more severe your punishments are likely to be. However, this only applies to first-time offenders. Subsequent offenses will face the same levels of punishment regardless of the driver’s BAC.

Consequences for Driving Over the Legal Blood Alcohol Content Level in NJ

If you are caught driving over the legal blood alcohol level, you may face severe consequences. The specifics of your case will vary depending on whether there are any other associated charges (such as causing an accident). Generally, the punishments for a DUI are decided based on your driving record and the specific situation. 

While each offense carries its own charges, there are some universal penalties you could face when convicted of a DUI charge. These include:

  • $100 surcharge to be deposited in the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
  • A Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee of $100 and an Intoxicated Driving Program fee of $100
  • A Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee of $50
  • A Safe and Secure Community Program fee of $75

First Offense

Your first offense for a DUI can be a bit tricky. The severity of your punishment changes based on your BAC level. The maximum penalties you can face are as follows.

<0.09%

  • Fines up to $400
  • Imprisonment up to 30 days
  • Loss of driver’s license until ignition interlock device is installed
  • Use of ignition interlock device for three months
  • Enrollment in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Program
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years

0.10-0.14%

  • Fines up to $500
  • Imprisonment up to 30 days
  • Loss of driver’s license until ignition interlock device is installed
  • Use of ignition interlock device for a minimum of seven months and up to one year
  • Enrollment in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Program
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years

>0.15%

  • Fines up to $500
  • Imprisonment up to 30 days
  • Loss of driver’s license for four to six months
  • Use of ignition interlock device for a minimum of nine months and up to fifteen months after license suspension is complete
  • Enrollment in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Program
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Second Offense

Regardless of your BAC, if you have a second DUI, you could face the following penalties:

  • Fines up to $1000
  • Imprisonment up to 90 days, with a 48-hour minimum
  • Loss of driver’s license for at least one year but a maximum of two years
  • Use of ignition interlock device for a minimum of two years and up to four years after license suspension is complete
  • Completion of evaluation, referral, and program requirements of the IDRC
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years
  • 30 days of community service

Third and Subsequent Offenses

Regardless of your BAC, if you have a third or any subsequent DUI offense, you could face the following penalties:

  • Fines up to $1000
  • Imprisonment up to 180 days
  • Loss of driver’s license for up to eight years
  • Use of ignition interlock device for a minimum of two years and up to four years after license suspension is complete
  • Completion of evaluation, referral, and program requirements of the IDRC
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,500 a year for three years
  • 30 days of community service

Driving with an Ignition Interlock Device

Nearly every DUI conviction will require the driver to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle before they can have their license restored. A certified technician must install the ignition interlock device, and it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure the device is functional and maintained. The device requires the driver to perform a breathalyzer test before the vehicle’s ignition engages. If you do not install an ignition interlock device and provide proof of one, you will likely be unable to restore your license and continue driving. 

What to Do After a DUI Charge

Being charged with a DUI does not guarantee a conviction. In some cases, faulty equipment can lead to a false DUI charge. In other cases, your driving may not have posed a threat to others, or you may have needed to drive under the influence in the case of an emergency. If you do get charged with a DUI, it’s crucial that you contact a DUI attorney right away. Your lawyer can help you understand your case and build a strong defense. With their knowledge and expertise, you may be able to lessen the punishments you face or even have your case thrown out altogether.

Drive over the Legal Blood Alcohol Content Level in NJ? Get Help with Your DUI Today

If you face DUI charges in New Jersey, you don’t have to face them alone. Driving over the blood alcohol content level in NJ can carry some hefty penalties. Attorney Leon Matchin is here to help. Call his office today at 732-887-2479 or email him at [email protected] to schedule a consultation about your case. With the help of a qualified DUI attorney, you could lessen the penalties you face for a DUI charge.