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

With the holiday season approaching, many New Jersey police departments will increase drunk driving enforcement. For Thanksgiving, more patrols often are out the day before the big feast and the weekend after. In December, law enforcement increase DWI patrols a few weeks before Christmas through New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

In New Jersey, as in most states, you can face drunk driving charges if you have a .08 blood alcohol level (BAC). If you find yourself charged with a first-time DWI in the coming weeks, here are the penalties you’ll face in New Jersey:

  • A $250-$400 fine
  • A three-day jail sentence
  • Forfeiting your driver’s license until you have an ignition interlock device installed in your car
  • Having the ignition interlock installed for three months
  • Spending a minimum of six hours a day, for two consecutive days, at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • Having an auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years

You’ll face even harsher consequences if your blood alcohol content level is between .10 and .15. Those include:

  • A $300-$500 fine
  • A jail sentence of up to 30 days
  • Forfeiting your driver’s license until you have an ignition interlock device installed in your car
  • Having the ignition interlock installed for seven months
  • Spending a minimum of six hours a day, for two consecutive days, at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • Having an auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years

Having a DUI conviction on your criminal record has more consequences that paying fines, serving jail time and having an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. You can face stiffer penalties if you are in the military. If you are a commercial driver, you can lose your commercial license. You also may hinder future employment opportunities.

When you face drunk driving charges, you always should consult a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can review your case and present best defense against a conviction. Your attorney could find ways to get your charges reduced or dismissed. That’s why it’s worth working with an attorney to minimize the consequences of a DUI conviction.