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What are the penalties for DWI or DUI in NJ?

What are the penalties for DWI in NJ? What are the penatlies for DUI in NJ?

“If you’ve just been arrested for a DWI, you could face some serious fines and punishments. Fortunately, you can potentially avoid them entirely.”

NJ DUI Laywer - Penalties for DWI Charges

Click here to see our video series on how to beat DWI charges.

There are a couple of factors that determine the severity of the charge against you.  For one, the law considers the number of DWI offenses you’ve actually been arrested for.  First offenses are not treated nearly as harshly as subsequent offenses and the penalties get much worse each time you break this law.

In addition to the number of offenses, the main factor in determining the severity of your charge is the measurement of how drunk you actually were

The Breathalyzer measures the level of alcohol that you’ve consumed by determining your blood alcohol content or “BAC”.  This is that actual percentage of your blood stream that is made of alcohol at the time of your arrest… kind of a scary concept.

Now bigger people can drink more alcohol without raising their BAC as much as smaller people.  Sometimes small people can handle their alcohol better than people twice their size, but all that matters is the machine’s reading, not how drunk you “felt” when you were pulled over.  The Breathalyzer’s numbers determine how much trouble you’ve gotten yourself into.

The first level of illegal BAC is 0.08% to 0.10%.  Anything under 0.8% is legal, even if it’s 0.79999%.  If your blood alcohol is in this range you face up to:

1. Fines of $250- $400
2. Jail time of up to 30 days
3. Loss of driver’s license for three months
4. IDRC for 12-48 hours
5. Interlock device for 6 months to 1 year

I’m sure you don’t need to hear about jail time.  I don’t need to tell you that sitting in a cell for 23 hours per day with two random criminals is a horrible way to spend a month.  You will be hungry, incredibly bored, and uneasy for every moment you spend in prison.

Fines are pretty self-explanatory.  You’re going to end up paying for your mistakes and the municipality that arrested you is going to make a profit.  This is of course in addition to the massive increase in your automobile insurance.  It’s the little stuff like this that really adds up over the course of time.

The loss of license is also self-explanatory.  You’re going to have to figure out how to get to work every day without a car and find some way to accomplish all of the other countless things that we typically rely on our vehicles to do.  Your social life will take a hit, and little things like shopping become a heavy chore.

IDRC is the New Jersey “Intoxicated Driver Resource Center”.  You’re going to have to sit in a room with a bunch of other folks who have been arrested for DWI and you’re going to have to learn about the potential effects of your actions when driving drunk.  You will listen to lectures, watch movies, and undoubtedly be exposed to the horror stories associated with driving while intoxicated.  This is an educational program, and it’s not something that you want to experience.

The interlock device on your car is a safety precaution that prevents you from driving drunk.  In order to start your car, you will have to blow into a miniature Breathalyzer to prove to vehicle that you’re not intoxicated.  This is just a pain in the neck, but it could certainly be seen as embarrassing.  Blowing into your interlock device is not the best way to start a date on Friday night.

I put the words “up to” in italics because all of these situations are the worst-case scenario after having been arrested for a DWI.  In reality, even if your case can’t be beaten entirely, you will probably not face nearly this degree of punishment assuming you have someone to negotiate on your behalf.

The next level of punishment exists for all BAC levels above 1.0% during a first offence.  For these you face:

1. Fines of $300 to $500
2. Jail time of up to 30 days
3. Loss of driver’s license for seven months to one year
4. IDRC for 12-48 hours
5. Mandatory interlock device for 6 months to 1 year if BAC is .15% or above (in addition to period of license suspension

Now, if you’re being arrested for a second time, your BAC doesn’t matter.  Anything over 0.08% and you’re facing the same punishment:

0.08% and above BAC:

1. Fines of $500 to $1,000
2. Jail time of up to 90 days
3. Loss of driver’s license for two (2) years
4. IDRC for 48 hours
5. Community service for 30 days
6. Mandatory interlock device for 1 to 3 years (in addition to period of license suspension).

These are the penalties for a third DWI offense in NJ at a BAC level of 0.08% and above:

1. Fines totaling $1,000
2. Jail time for 180 days
3. Loss of driver’s license for ten (10) years
4. IDRC is determined on a case-by-case basis
5. Mandatory interlock device for 1 to 3 years (in addition to the period of license suspension)

If you have an experienced DWI lawyer fighting on your behalf, you should not be faced with these punishments.  However, it’s my job to tell you exactly what you could be facing.  Since I’ve undoubtedly made you nervous, let me go ahead and tell you how I typically beat DWI cases.

Travis J. Tormey Esq.
Phone: (201) 556-1571

Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

Experience You Can Trust

With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation.  

With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

The Tormey Law Firm

Areas We Serve

Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Somerset County including Morristown, Denville, Dover, Mount Olive, Parsippany, Hackensack, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Fort Lee, Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ridgefield Park, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Clifton, and Wayne.


Hackensack Location

254 State Street

Hackensack, NJ 07601

  (201) 556-1570    Directions

Morristown Location

55 Madison Avenue Suite 400

Morristown, NJ 07960

  (908) 336-5008    Directions