The dangers of driving while drunk are no secret in the United States. During the last 30 to 40 years, DUI laws across the country have become tougher and tougher—to not only crack down on drivers under the influence of alcohol, but to discourage others from drinking and driving too because of how dangerous it is.

Yet, in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving accidents still accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities in the United States. As a result, on average one person dies in an alcohol-impaired accident every 48 minutes.

In New Jersey, as in most states, the penalties drivers face for a DUI conviction depend on:

  • if they have been convicted of DUI before
  • how high their blood alcohol content (BAC) was at the time of arrest
  • if the offense happened in a school zone or crossing
  • if anyone else was injured or killed as the result of them driving while drunk

First-time offense

For a first-time DUI offense in New Jersey, drivers with between .08 and .09 BAC face the following consequences:

  • A fine of $250-500
  • A 30-day imprisonment
  • A three-month license suspension
  • A minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • An auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years

For those who end up with .15 BAC or higher, they must install an ignition interlock device in the vehicle they operate most during their license suspension and keep that device for six months to a year after their license suspension.

Second-time offense

For a second-time DUI conviction, drivers with lower than .10 BAC face the following penalties:

  • A fine of $500-$1,000
  • A minimum 48-hour imprisonment and up to 90-day jail term
  • A two-year license suspension
  • A 48-consecutive-hour detainment in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • 30 days of community service
  • An auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for one to three years after license restoration

Third-time offense

For a third DUI conviction, drivers face these consequences:

  • A $1,000 fine
  • A 180-day imprisonment
  • A 10-year license suspension
  • Detainment in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program
  • 30 days of community service
  • A fee to be paid to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • An auto insurance surcharge of $1,500 a year for three years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for one to three years after license restoration

 

When facing a DU charge, drivers should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. Sometimes, the cases against you might not be as strong as you think. If you already have a DUI on your record, you may be able to reduce the charges to reckless driving and not face stiffer consequences. Working with attorney can help you determine what the best steps are for you moving forward.