All states make drunk driving a chargeable offense, but it doesn’t always deter drivers from driving intoxicated. While some states refer to drunk driving as DUI, New Jersey calls it DWI, or driving while intoxicated. Drivers in Newark who are convicted of DWI could be subject to multiple penalties.
New Jersey DWI overview
New Jersey considers a driver under the influence when they exceed the legal limit on a chemical test, such as a Breathalyzer. If a driver has a license, they agree to chemical testing under implied consent laws in the event that an officer thinks they are driving drunk. Under the influence means having decreased mental and physical abilities, and it includes legal and illegal drugs in addition to alcohol.
New Jersey sets the legal blood alcohol content level at 0.08, and an arrest based on that is a per se charge. Officers need no other evidence under per se law, and drivers still may be arrested for drunk driving if they test below that level but appear impaired.
Penalties for underage DWI include a 30- to 90-day license suspension and 15 to 30 days of community service. This applies to any amount of alcohol for drivers under 21 or with a BAC of even 0.01.
Penalties for a first offense commonly include $250 to $400 in fines and a 12-hour to 30-day jail term. The driver must pay a $1,000 surcharge to keep their license for three years and undergo alcohol or drug assessment.
A second offense includes a two-year license suspension, and the fines increase to $500 to $1,000. The jail time is 48 hours to 90 days, and the license surcharge increases to $3,000 per year for three years. All offense levels must install an ignition interlock device after license suspension, which checks a driver’s BAC before letting them start the vehicle.
The driver must pay the fees for alcohol education and license reinstatement. However, drivers can commonly seek alternate sentencing for first offenses, such as house arrest and probation. Knowing the penalties of a conviction can help those facing DWI charges better understand the legal process.