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What are the penalties for a first DWI in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Drunk Driving |

Thousands of people get arrested for major traffic violations every year, and driving while intoxicated (DWI) is arguably one of the most serious driving offenses possible. In New Jersey, drivers will face misdemeanor charges and sometimes even felony charges if they get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

In situations involving a traffic stop and no injuries or property damage, the driver involved might think that pleading guilty would be a fast resolution to the whole issue. However, when they know the penalties that a judge might sentence them to, they may want to reconsider that strategy. 

A first offense can carry lasting consequences

The first time you plead guilty to a DWI offense in New Jersey, you will be subject to sentencing under state law. The judge can potentially imprison you for up to 30 days or order you to pay a fine of up to $400.

You will need to install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle and undergo specialized training for at least 12 hours. You will also pay an insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for the next three years in addition to the increase in your policy costs.

If your blood alcohol concentration were 0.10% or higher, the fines and license suspension would increase. Those with a BAC of over 0.15% will trigger enhanced IID requirements. 

A defense is possible for DUI charges

Despite how the state attempts to gather evidence for impaired driving charges, they frequently fail to prove that someone was under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt. Those accused of impaired driving offenses may be able to defend against those charges in court and avoid the criminal consequences they would face for a guilty plea.

Fighting DUI/DWI charges can help you save your license and avoid a lifetime criminal record.