What are the differences between a first and second offense DUI?

Like other states, New Jersey has a set of laws pertaining to driving under the influence or DUI. The state takes this offense seriously, which means there are harsh penalties, especially if you’ve already committed the first offense. You should know the differences and what consequences you might face if you’re convicted.

What happens with a first DUI offense?

If you are convicted of a first DUI offense in New Jersey, the penalties can vary depending on your age and level of intoxication at the time of the offense. Younger drivers under 21 years old are considered intoxicated if their blood alcohol concentration or BAC is 0.01 or higher. If convicted, younger drivers can face a license suspension of 90 days, 30 days of community service, and a mandatory treatment program before they can regain their driver’s license. Adults who are convicted can face much harsher penalties, including the following:

• Up to 30 days in jail
• A for a BAC over 0.10
• Mandatory treatment program
• Suspended driver’s licenses for three months to a year if the BAC is higher than 0.10
• Ignition interlock device on their vehicle for 3 to 15 months depending on BAC
• Disorderly person charges, community service, and a longer license suspension for having a passenger younger than 18 in the vehicle at the time of the offense
• Higher penalties if the offense occurred within 1,000 feet of a school zone

What happens with a second DUI offense?

Second intoxicated driving offenses that take place over 10 years after a first offense are treated as first offenses. However, if the offense happens sooner, the following penalties are in place:

• 90 days in jail
• A fine of $1,000, court fees, and additional fines
• Mandatory treatment program
• Suspension of license for two years
• Ignition interlock device on your vehicle that remains for up to four years once your license is reinstated
• 30 days of community service

If a person under 18 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, you will have the same penalties as with a first offense but with a longer license suspension and more hours. You could be sentenced to a $2,000 fine, four-year license suspension, 180 days in jail and 60 days of community service if the offense occurred within 1,000 feet of a school zone.

If you face these charges, you must take them seriously. To build a strong defense in your case, it’s important to understand your rights and how to protect them.

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