“Can I do community service instead of paying fines or going to the Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center?”
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“Can I do community service instead of paying fines or losing my license?”
Answer: Wouldn’t that be nice? No. The penalties for DWI in New Jersey are pretty rigid. There is very little room for flexibility, and this has to do with the letter of the law in the DWI statute. While you might not be able to afford to pay the fines in full, the state doesn’t really care. Every municipality offers payment plans, and they are lenient to say the least. Typically, these arrangements are made within the courthouse, and often the payment amount is determined by your answer to the question: “How much can you afford to pay monthly?” It’s important that you are clear about any financial holdups that you might have with your attorney (if you have one) and with the judge.
Remember, this is a business. The courts want to make sure that they get paid, and they aren’t trying to force you into a position where you have to skip out.
The license suspension is also non-negotiable. It would be great to go outside and play basket-ball with Big Brothers/Big Sisters on the weekends as community service, but that’s hardly a punishment. A DWI charge is considered to be pretty serious in the state of New Jersey, and they want you to feel that fact after you walk out of the court room. Having to arrange for public transportation or having to annoy your friends/family for rides all of the time is a huge hassle. That alone, without all of the fines or potential jail time is enough to make you think twice about drinking and stepping foot inside a vehicle.