DWIs are taken very seriously in New Jersey. After all, driving while intoxicated can endanger the driver, passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. Incidentally, the most dangerous night to be out on the road is the night before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Eve has become known as “Drinksgiving” or “Blackout Wednesday.” This is because college students and young adults come home for the first time in months, reuniting with their hometown friends. Many choose to celebrate by going to bars and clubs. Unfortunately, many choose to drive home after these gatherings, resulting in a high number of DWIs. Read on to learn more about DWI charges in New Jersey and what to do if you receive a DWI this Thanksgiving Eve.
What to Know about DWIs in New Jersey
DWIs are a serious offense. In New Jersey, DWI charges are dependent upon your BAC and your previous offenses. BAC stands for blood alcohol content. In NJ, you will receive a DWI if you are over 21 and you have a BAC of .08% and above, and if you are under 21 and have a BAC of .01% or higher. Your BAC depends on a few different things, such as what type of alcohol you drink, how much you drink, and how fast you drink, among others.
DWI charges are tiered if it is your first offense. So if you have a BAC of .08% or .09%, you will face a certain set of penalties. If your BAC is .10% or above, your charges will be more severe. If you are pulled over for drunk driving for the second or third time, your penalties will be even higher.
Penalties if Pulled Over for the First Time with a BAC between .08- .09%
- License suspension until the date of installation of the ignition interlock device, then the interlock device remains on the vehicle for 3 months
- A $250-$500 fine
- 12-48 hours at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (consecutive days or overnight)
- Up to 30 days of jail time
- A $1000 yearly surcharge for 3 years
- A $50 Victims of Crime Compensation Board Penalty
- A $100 Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund fee
- A $100 Drunk Driving Fund fee
- A $75 Neighborhood Services Fund fee
Penalties if Pulled Over for the First Time with a BAC of .10% or higher:
All of the above penalties plus:
- Forfeiture of driver’s license for 7-12 months
- $300-$500 in fines
- Mandatory Ignition Interlock 6 – 12 months if your BAC is above .15%
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