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What are the penalties for a DWI in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, DWI offenses are treated very seriously and carry some potentially severe consequences for people who are convicted. Even first-time offenders face possible jail time, temporary loss of license, fines and expensive surcharges in addition to the related problems associated with having a criminal record.

In New Jersey, the legal limit for driving is .08 percent for those over the age of 21. First-time offenders whose blood alcohol content ranges between .08 and .10 percent face up to 30 days in jail, a 3-month license suspension, a $1,000 insurance surcharge for three years, fines, fees and mandatory classes. For those whose BAC is greater than .10 percent, the potential penalties increase in severity. The fine is increased to $300 to $500, and the person must attend a mandatory minimum of six hours of drug and alcohol education classes for two consecutive days. People in this category may have their driver's license suspended for seven months to one year.

Second-time offenders can expect to lose their license for two years, serve between 48 hours and 90 days in jail and require the installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. The fine for these people increases to a range of $500 to $1,000. Penalties for third-time offenses include 180 days in jail, loss of driving privileges for 10 years, mandatory in-patient treatment, a fine of $1,000, a $1,500 yearly insurance surcharge for three years and installation of an ignition interlock device.

When people have been accused of a DWI offense, they may benefit by speaking with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney may be able to identify defenses and negotiate a lesser plea. He or she may be able to fight for their clients at hearings and jury trials as well.

Source: The state of New Jersey, "Penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations", October 24, 2014

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