New Jersey DUI Laws and Penalties

One of the absolute worst New Jersey traffic tickets you could ever obtain is a violation for driving under the influence (DUI). Whether it's due to alcohol or drugs, driving while impaired is dealt with extremely harshly across the country, and New Jersey is no exception.

If you are caught and convicted of driving behind the wheel, be ready to face some serious consequences that will follow you around for the rest of your life.

What is DUI?

Driving under the influence in New Jersey is defined as operating a motor vehicle while carrying a blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage of 0.08% or higher. This means different amounts for different people, as each person's body processes alcohol differently, and is based heavily on a person's size and individual tolerance. However, significant changes in behavior can usually be detected in any person drinking alcohol after just two beverages, even if they have not yet reached the legal limit.

Alcohol completely changes a person's ability to see, think, judge, and react clearly - all of which are absolutely essential skills that are used while driving. Impairments in any of these abilities poses a very grave threat to the driver and all other motorists and passengers on the road.

Implied Consent

New Jersey is one of many states that operates under an "implied consent" law. This means that any time you choose to get behind the wheel within state lines, you automatically consent to a breath or chemical test should you be suspected of DUI. If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, you will be arrested on the spot and taken directly to a hospital where your blood can be drawn to determine your BAC. You will also lose your driving privileges for 3 months to a year.

DUI and DWI Penalties

Below are the fines and penalties you can expect if you are convicted of driving under the influence in New Jersey.

First offense:
  • 3-month license suspension
  • $250-$400 fine
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • 12-48 hours at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)
  • $230 IDRC fee
  • $100 Alcohol Education & Rehabilitation Fund (AERF) fee
  • $100 sent to the New Jersey drunk driving fund
  • $1,000 annual surcharge for 3 years
  • $75 fee to Neighborhood Services fund
Second offense:
  • 2-year license suspension
  • $500-$1,000 fine
  • 48 hours to 90 days in jail
  • 30 days of community service
  • 12-48 hours at IDRC
  • Installation of ignition interlock device for 1-3 years
  • $1,000 annual surcharge
  • Plus all fees to IDRC, AERF, drunk driving fund, and Neighborhood Services
Third offense:
  • 10-year license revocation
  • $1,000 fine
  • 180 days in jail
  • Up to 90 days of community service
  • 12-48 hours at IDRC
  • Installation of ignition interlock device for 1-3 years
  • $1,500 annual surcharge for 3 years
  • Plus all fees to IDRC, AERF, drunk driving fund, and Neighborhood Services

These fines and penalties are all for BAC percentages between .08% and .10%. If you are caught driving with a BAC of .10% or higher, you face significantly higher fines, longer license suspension terms, and longer jail terms.

Underage Drinking

New Jersey DWI laws also take into account minors who choose to drink and drive. Any person under 21 years old is not legally allowed to even possess alcohol, much less drink it and get behind the wheel. If you are underage, you cannot be caught with a BAC of even .01%, or you will face criminal charges far worse that your standard New Jersey traffic ticket. You will suffer an immediate suspension of your license for 30-90 days, plus a possible combination of any of the above sentences for a first-time SUI conviction. You will also be required to perform a minimum of 15-30 days of community service, and you will have to complete an alcohol education course.


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