In New Jersey, anyone operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher can face DUI charges. However, drivers may also receive a DUI charge with a BAC under the legal limit if the alcohol obviously impairs their ability to operate a vehicle.

The penalties for driving under the influence vary depending on the number of previous offenses. The more offenses a person accumulates, the more severe the punishments become.

First DUI offense

First offenses involving a BAC higher than 0.08% but not more than 0.10% are subject to a fine ranging from $250 to $400, no more than 30 days in prison, and a three-month license suspension. Drivers must also spend at least six hours on two consecutive days at a Driver Resource Center.

Penalties increase when BAC is over 0.10%, and when it is over 0.15%, drivers must also install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for six months to a year after license suspension.

Second DUI offense

By the second offense, drivers will be subject to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, mandatory imprisonment lasting 48 consecutive hours and a two-year license suspension, along with other penalties. Drivers charged with second offenses will also have to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles, as well as perform community service for 30 days.

Third DUI offense

The fine is set at $1,000 when charged with a third offense. Jail time increases to 180 days, while the license suspension period lasts 10 years. A judge may also order community service, mandatory in-patient treatment for substance abuse issues and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

Other circumstances

All offenders are subject to increased insurance surcharge after receiving a DUI conviction. The judge may also levy other fees, including monies for various public interest funds, as well as restoration fees paid to the Motor Vehicle Commission.

If law enforcement catches someone driving under the influence with a minor, he or she will be subject to an additional disorderly persons charge and lose the right to drive for six months.