First Offense at New Jersey DWI Penalties



New Jersey has implied consent laws for drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. By getting behind the wheel, a driver automatically consents to a chemical test to determine blood alcohol level. If a driver refuses to admit to breath, urine or blood tests, penalties include suspension of a driver’s license for up to one year.

New Jersey DWI penalties apply when the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .08 percent or higher. The law warrants a DWI charge whether or not a person’s driving ability is impaired. When a driver’s license is suspended because of a DWI offense, the judge will order installation of an ignition interlock device on a vehicle. This requires the driver to breathe into a tube before the car can be started. The vehicle will not start if the BAC is over .05 percent. To verify the breath sample belongs to the driver, the person must provide breath samples every 15 to 30 minutes.

If an ignition interlock device is ordered, the driver will have driving suspended for a specific period of time. Following suspension, if the device is not installed when required, driving privileges can be suspended for additional time.

Penalties for a 1st DWI offense

For a BAC of .08 percent, but less than .10 percent, drivers can receive a three-month suspension of driving privileges for a first DWI offense. New Jersey DWI penalties also include a fine of $250 to $400 and the driver is ordered to spend 12 to 48 hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). A jail term of up to 30 days can also be imposed.

For a BAC of .10 percent or higher, the driver receives a seven-month to one-year suspension of driving privileges, a fine of $300 to $500 and 12 to 48 hours at an IDRC. A jail term of up to 30 days can also be imposed.

Penalties for a 2nd DWI offense

Driving privileges are suspended for two years and a fine imposed from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $1,000 for a second DWI offense. Thirty days of community service is required, including 12 to 48 hours at an IDRC. Imprisonment is between 48 hours to a maximum of 90 days.

Penalties for a 3rd DWI offense

For a third DWI offense, driving privileges are suspended for 10 years and a $1,000 fine imposed. Ninety days maximum of community service is required, along with 12 to 48 hours at an IDRC. Imprisonment is 180 days.

Requirements for ignition interlock devices

For a first offense and a BAC level below .15 percent, the court may order installation of the device for six months to one year after driving privileges have been restored. For a BAC of .15 percent or above and first refusal convictions, the driver is ordered to install the device both during the term of the driving suspension and six months to one year after restoration of privileges.

For a second and subsequent offenses for DWI, the court requires installation of an ignition interlock device during the term of suspension and also for from one to three years after driving privileges are restored.

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