First Offense DWI Penalties In NJ – 1st Offense DWI NJ – What are the penalties for first DUI in New Jersey?

Arrested for Your First Drunk Driving Charge in New Jersey?

arrested 1st offense DWI lawyer needed NJ

1st offense DWI

If you are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) for the first time in New Jersey, you face severe penalties including up to 30 days in jail. There are different levels of first offense DWI and the potential consequences get worse the higher your blood alcohol concentration was (allegedly).

A DWI is a traffic offense in New Jersey, it’s not criminal. But it is serious. The penalties can include a significant driver’s license loss and NJ does not permit temporary or work licenses. So, if you lose your privileges in New Jersey, you lose them for the entire period of your suspension. In addition, fines, DMV surcharges, and insurance surcharges can make it very expensive.

NOTE: These are the NEW DWI penalties effective December 1, 2019.

The first level of DWI punishment is for BAC levels of 0.08% to 0.10%.  If your blood alcohol concentration is in this range, you face:

  • Fines of $250- $400
  • Jail time of up to 30 days
  • Loss of driver’s license until ignition interlock device is installed in your vehicle
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for 12-48 hours
  • Ignition Interlock device for 3 months

The next level of punishment applies to a BAC above a 0.10% but less than a .15% during a first offense.  For these charges you face:

  • Fines of $300 to $500
  • Jail time of up to 30 days
  • Loss of driver’s license until ignition interlock device is installed in your vehicle
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for 12-48 hours
  • Ignition Interlock Device for 7 months to 1 year

The last and most severe level of punishment is for a BAC of .15% or higher, the penalties are as follows:

  • Fines of $300- $500
  • Jail time of up to 30 days
  • Loss of driver’s license for 4 to 6 months
  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for 12-48 hours
  • Ignition Interlock device for 9 months to 15 months

Notice that the penalties increase significantly if your breath test reading is over 0.10% and 0.15%, respectively. Remember, New Jersey does not have temporary or work licenses so if you lose your driving privileges, you lose them for whatever the period of your suspension is. In addition, if you have an out of state license, NJ can only suspend you in New Jersey. However, they may notify your home state and your license may get suspended in your home state once they are aware of your DWI in NJ.  A conviction for a 1st offense DUI also entails mandatory attendance at a state-approved Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.

On top of all of these penalties, first DUI charges result in the following costs and fees:

  • $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund surcharge
  • $50 fee to the Violent Crimes Compensation Board
  • $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Funds surcharge
  • $100 Motor Vehicle Restoration fee
  • $100 for other fees

You cannot take a plea to a lesser offense in a DWI case, so these penalties cannot be reduced by accepting a plea offer. In fact, prosecutors are prohibited from negotiating pleas in DUI cases in New Jersey. In other words, if you can’t beat your case in court, the consequences of being convicted cannot be lessened. Fortunately, there are effective defense strategies that can be used to successfully get your charges dismissed. For more information, be sure to watch our video series on How To Beat DWI Charges and Click Here For More Information On NJ DWI Charges.

Want to Discuss Your Best Defense for a 1st DUI? Contact DWI Lawyers with offices in Hackensack, Newark, Morristown, NJ

We can be reached anytime, day or night, by calling 201-556-1570. Consultations are free so call now to get the information you need from an experienced New Jersey drunk driving lawyer.


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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.

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