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Once you can appreciate the severity of the consequences associated with a DUI/DWI in New Jersey, you can appreciate why you need the representation of the KEAVENEY LEGAL GROUP.
Under New Jersey’s DWI/DUI law pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, a charge for DWI/DUI is issued when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. New Jersey defines intoxication as a “substantial deterioration or diminution of the mental faculties or physical capabilities.”
You can still be convicted of DWI/DUI even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08. based solely on the evidence gathered from the police officer observing your behavior and performance on any field sobriety tests that were administered.
NEW JERSEY DUI/DWI PENALTIES:
Although DWIs are defined as traffic offenses rather than criminal offenses, convictions carry heavy legal consequences. Even for a first time offense DWI, you are facing the following court-imposed and administrative penalties and punishments.
PENALTIES FOR A FIRST TIME DUI
● Loss of your driving privileges for 3 months.
● At least twelve hours of jail time and no more than 30 days.
● Between $250 and $400 in fines.
● A $1,000 annual automobile insurance surcharge for three years.
● Other fees and surcharges in excess of $525.
● Possible Ignition Interlock requirement for six to twelve months.
● Alcohol/substance abuse assessment.
● Two days of 6-hour mandatory alcohol classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).
● A DWI conviction with a BAC of 0.10% or higher, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, comes with higher fines and a longer license suspension for first time offenders including a Forfeiture of your driving privileges for at least seven months and no longer than one year.
● Between $300 and $500 in fines.
● Additional penalties as identified above.
2ND OFFENSE DWI PENALTIES AND FINES IN NEW JERSEY
New Jersey identifies the following penalties for a second DUI offense within ten years of your initial offense:
● Minimum fines of $500 and maximum of $1,000
● 30 days of community service
● 12 – 48 hrs Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
● $3,000 in automobile insurance surcharges over a 3-year period
● Jail time between 2 – 90 days
● A minimum 2 years of license suspension
● An ignition interlock device while license is suspended and following return of license
Note that these penalties are not the only ones. There are several other surcharges and associated costs for DUI offenses, such as a $75 Neighborhood Services Fund surcharge, a $100 Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF) surcharge, $230 – $280 for IDRC fees, the cost of an Ignition Interlock Device, and more.
3RD OFFENSE DUI PENALTIES IN NEW JERSEY
Just as with a second offense, if you are arrested for DUI in New Jersey a third time, the penalties will increase in severity. Your arrest must occur within ten years of your second offense, but a BAC of 0.08% or higher is all it takes. New Jersey outlines the following consequences for a third DUI offense:
● Minimum $1,000 fine
● A maximum of 90 days of community service
● 12 – 48 hrs Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
● $4,500 in automobile insurance surcharges over a 3-year period
● 180 days of jail time
● 10 years of license suspension
● An ignition interlock device Again, like with a first and second offense, there are other surcharges and fees for DUI offenses. They include a $100 Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF) surcharge, a $75 Neighborhood Services Fund surcharge, $280 for IDRC fees, the cost of an Ignition Interlock Device, a $100 DUI enforcement surcharge, and more.
THE STATE CAN STILL CONVICT FOR A DUI EVEN IF THE BREATH TESTING EQUIPMENT IS FAULTY OR A DRIVER IS UNDER .08 – BASED ON THE FAILURE TO PROPERLY PERFORM THE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS.
What Happens if a Driver Refuses to Submit a Breath Sample?
The Refusal Statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a) essentially provides that a driver’s right to operate a motor vehicle in New Jersey shall be revoked if the driver has been arrested for driving while intoxicated and the driver thereafter refuses to submit to a breath test when requested to do so. In New Jersey the test used to determine a driver’s BAC is called the Alcotest. The actual machine used in New Jersey to measure a suspected drunk driver’s “BAC” is the Draeger (also known as Dräger) Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C.
What are the Penalties for a Refusal?
Under New Jersey’s Refusal Statute, the penalties for a first time refusal are a minimum license revocation of seven months and a maximum license revocation of one year along with a fine of not less than $300.00 or more than $500.00. A refusal in connection with a second offense carries a two year license revocation along with a fine of not less than $500.00 or more than $1,000.00. A refusal in connection with a third or subsequent offense carries a ten year license revocation and a fine of $1,000.00. A conviction for a refusal also requires the court to order that the driver install an ignition interlock device in the driver’s vehicle. The Refusal Statute also outlines enhanced penalties for violations which occur on or within 1,000 feet of school property or which occur while driving through a school crossing.
What Constitutes a Refusal?
Similar to a DWI, in order to be convicted of a refusal, the arresting officer must have had probable cause to believe that the accused had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on the streets of New Jersey while the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition, the driver must have refused to submit to the taking of a breath or other type of sample after having been requested to do so by the officer.
What is the Difference Between a DWI and a Refusal?
The primary difference between the DWI Statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) and the Refusal Statute in New Jersey in terms of penalties is the possibility of jail time. The DWI Statute carries a possibility for jail time, the Refusal Statute has no provision for jail time. More specifically, in addition to license revocations and fines, the DWI Statute carries a possible jail sentence of thirty days for a first time offender; a two day to a ninety day jail sentence for a second time offender; and a one hundred and eighty day jail sentence for a third time offender. Jail time is not one of the penalties outlined in the Refusal Statute.
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