DUI Laws in New Jersey

DUI Laws in New Jersey

You should always take charges of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in New Jersey seriously. The penalties for a conviction are steep. You could be smacked with fines you can’t pay, lose driving privileges, or even go to jail. You’ll also have higher auto insurance rates. Even more worrisome, a conviction can never be removed from your driving record. You must also consider the impact on your job status and reputation if the DUI charge sticks. There’s a lot to lose.

With so much at stake, getting help from a NJ DUI defense lawyer is crucial. Turn to The Law Offices of Steven Ellman. For 35 years, New Jersey DUI defense attorney Steven Ellman has successfully represented thousands of clients in drunk driving cases. Several defenses could help you beat DUI/DWI charges, but knowing the best strategy for your case is a job for an experienced lawyer.

Steven Ellman is a respected, award-winning DUI defense lawyer serving clients in all 21 counties in New Jersey. He is among the Top 10 premier attorneys in the state for getting clients’ cases dropped. His dedicated and hard-hitting approach to criminal cases uniquely positions him to provide solid options for clients needing a strong DUI defense. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

New Jersey DUI Laws

It’s illegal for any person under 21 to consume alcohol in New Jersey. An individual who drives with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher is considered to be driving drunk. However, a motorist can be convicted of DUI even with a BAC below the legal limit. Every person metabolizes alcohol differently. When it comes to DUI offenses, what matters is whether your driving is impacted. 

It’s also important to note that you can be charged with DUI for knowingly allowing someone under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants to operate a motor vehicle. 

In New Jersey, DUI is a traffic offense, not a criminal one. However, a DUI could escalate to an indictable crime (felony) or a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) depending on the circumstances. For example, the charge might be upgraded if an intoxicated driver caused an accident that injured someone else. 

New Jersey has an implied consent law. If you get stopped by law enforcement on suspicion of DUI, you automatically consent to breath testing. Refusal can result in a driver’s license suspension.  

What is the Punishment for DUI in New Jersey?

The punishment for DUI offenses varies based on whether the driver has a history of DUI. The state’s DUI law outlines the penalties for each offense, which get more severe depending on the number of violations. 

First Offense

First-time drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher but less than 0.10:

  • $250 to $400 fine
  • Up to 30 days in county jail, at the judge’s discretion
  • License revocation until installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • IID for three months
  • Minimum of two six-hour classes over two consecutive days at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years

First-time offenders with a BAC of 0.10 or higher but less than 0.15: 

  • $300 to $500 fine
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension until installation of ignition interlock device (IID), which must remain for seven months to one year
  • Minimum of six hours for two consecutive days at an IDRC
  • Auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years

First offenders with a BAC of 0.15 or more: 

  • License forfeiture for four to six months
  • Ignition interlock device (IID) for the duration of the suspension and nine to 15 months after license reinstatement

Second Offense

Drivers with a second DUI in New Jersey face penalties including: 

  • $500 to $1,000 fine
  • Jail for 48 consecutive hours and up to 90 days
  • Driver’s license revocation for one to two years 
  • Ignition interlock device for two to four years
  • Completing evaluation, referral, and individual programs from IDRC
  • 30 days of community service 
  • Insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years

Third Offense 

  • Up to $1,000 fines
  • Imprisonment of 180 days, 90 of which can be served in a rehab approved by IDRC
  • Driver’s license revocation for eight years
  • Installation of ignition interlock device during license suspension and for two to four years after driving privileges are restored
  • 30 days of community service
  • $1,500 insurance surcharge for three years 

Keep in mind other punishments can also accompany a DUI. You may pay the costs for the ignition interlock device, court fees, and fines to community funds. You could also face a personal injury or wrongful lawsuit if you caused an accident that hurt or killed someone. 

Know Your Rights: Arrested for a DUI in New Jersey

If you’re arrested for a DUI in New Jersey, you have important rights that can protect your legal case. These include: 

  • Right to remain silent – You must identify yourself but otherwise have no obligation to answer police questions about where you have been or if you’ve been drinking. Anything you say can be used against you. 
  • No unreasonable search and seizure – The police do not have an automatic right to search you or your vehicle without probable cause.
  • Right to be read your Miranda Rights – Your Miranda Rights spell out your right to remain silent, right to an attorney, and ask you to indicate whether you understand your rights and want to answer any questions. Anything you say will be inadmissible if you weren’t Mirandized. 
  • Right to refuse a field sobriety test – Police may ask you to perform roadside tests if they suspect you are intoxicated. But subjective assessments such as one-leg stands or walk-and-turn tests are unreliable. For example, a person with a medical condition affecting their balance may fail a field sobriety test but not be guilty of drunk driving. You can say no.
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Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation With a New Jersey DUI Lawyer

Being arrested for a DUI is scary, but you are not automatically guilty. DUI Defense Attorney Steven Ellman can fight your charges and build a solid defense to protect your life and liberty. He now serves Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey. Contact us today for a free consultation with our proven DUI defense lawyer in New Jersey.