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What to know about New Jersey DWI laws

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | DUI |

Some states call DUIs by other initials, but they still make it a punishable offense. In New Jersey, DUI is referred to as DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol. A driver in East Orange, New Jersey, may face various penalties for a DWI whether it is a first or subsequent offense.

Overview of New Jersey DWI

Police commonly conduct field tests and use a Breathalyzer to check for impairment by taking a breath sample. In New Jersey, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .08, meaning the assumption of impairment applies at that level.

A standard driver may get charged with drunk driving with a BAC of .08, and even lower, if he or she shows signs of impairment. The limit is set lower for commercial drivers at .04 and .01 for minors under 21. A drunk driving charge based on BAC level is called a per se DUI, and no other proof is needed.

Penalties for DWI

A first DWI offense in New Jersey includes penalties of a $250 to $400 fine, a maximum 30-day jail sentence and alcohol education. New laws have replaced license suspension with a required ignition interlock device for some drivers. First offenders with a BAC of 0.15 or higher lose their licenses for four to six months. They also must have the device installed for 15 months.

A second offense commonly increases the fine from $300 to $500, a license suspension between one and two years, and jail time up to 90 days. Refusing to take a Breathalyzer test counts as a traffic violation with a seven-month license suspension and $300-$500 fines. Certain factors, such as minors and weapons in the vehicle, could increase first-time penalties.

Convicted drivers commonly must pay a $1,000 surcharge for first offenses on their insurance and carry SR-22, a special coverage for high-risk drivers. Laws are subject to change, and courts commonly don’t take ignorance of the law as an excuse for drunk driving.