If you’re charged with a DWI in New Jersey, contact attorney Leon Matchin right away. He is experienced with DWI cases and is an expert on New Jersey traffic laws. While DWIs are considered traffic offenses in New Jersey, the penalties are very serious. It’s important to engage an attorney as soon as possible.
DWI Blood Alcohol Levels According to New Jersey Traffic Laws
The penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges vary in New Jersey based on the number of past offenses and blood alcohol content.
New Jersey traffic laws for DWIs changed in 2019. A notable change in the law made ignition interlock devices mandatory for first-time offenders. Also, driver’s license suspension penalties were removed for first-time offenders and slightly lessened for second and third offenses. The legal change shifts focus to behavior change for first-time offenders with ignition interlock devices.
An ignition interlock device requires a driver to blow into it before starting their vehicle. If the device detects alcohol, it prevents the vehicle from starting. The devices also prompt the driver for random tests while the vehicle is moving and advises them to pull over if alcohol is detected. All tests are recorded and downloaded to the state when the machine is calibrated.
First DWI Offense BAC .08-.15%
When you’re charged with your first DWI with a BAC of .08-.15%, the penalties are:
- Ignition interlock device 3 months to 1 year
- 12 hours attendance Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center (IDRC)
- $250-$500 in fines
- $1000 automobile insurance surcharge for 3 years
- Possible jail sentence up to 30 days
If you’re charged with your first DWI with a BAC of .15% or above, there is an added penalty of 7 to 12 months driver’s license suspension.
Second DWI Offense Penalties
According to New Jersey traffic laws, a second offense is one that occurs within ten years of the first DWI arrest. The penalties are more severe than a first offense:
- $500-$1000 in fines
- 2 to 180 hours jail sentence
- 30 hours community service
- 48 hours at IDRC
- $3000 automobile insurance surcharge for 3 years
- 1 to 2 years driver’s license suspension
- Ignition interlock device during and after license suspension
Third DWI Offense Penalties
A third DWI offense occurs within 10 years of the first arrest. For a third DWI offense, all it takes is a BAC of .08%. Here are the minimum penalties you can expect for a third DWI charge:
- $1000 fine minimum
- 180 days jail time
- 90 days community service at a maximum
- 12-48 hours at IDRC
- $4500 automobile insurance surcharge for 3 years
- 8 years license suspension
- Ignition interlock device
It’s important to note that the fees and surcharges listed are by no means all you can expect. Court fees and other charges drive up the cost. One example is that you’re required to pay for the ignition lock device. There is both an installation and monthly lease fee for the devices.
Fees and penalties are even more stringent if you receive a DWI in a restricted traffic area, like a school zone.
Whether it is a first, second, or third offense, a DWI is very expensive. If the fees aren’t paid, the court can place a lien on your property or garnish your wages.
The offenses and penalties outlined here apply to drivers over age 21. For drivers under age 21, the police will arrest you for a BAC of .01% and above. If convicted, an under-21 driver’s license is suspended for 30-90 days and there may be additional penalties, which are up to the judge. A driver under age 21 is given 15-30 days of mandatory community service and must attend the IDRC.
Other Consequences of a DWI in New Jersey Traffic Laws
A DWI can cause you to miss work for court, jail time, and to meet other sentencing requirements. It also impacts your insurance rates and may require you to find a new provider. It can also have a negative impact if you apply for a job that requires driving a company vehicle. Also, former spouses have been known to bring up DWI charges in child custody cases.
What Should You Do When Charged With a DWI?
Everyone makes mistakes. And everyone has the right to defend themselves against a charge like a DWI. When you are charged with a DWI, you need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Leon Matchin is experienced and knows New Jersey traffic law. He’s successfully handled numerous other DWI cases, so he understands your situation. Also, if your case goes to trial, Mr. Matchin is a Certified Municipal Court Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
If you’re arrested because of a DWI, contact Leon Matchin right away by phone at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected].