Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey attracts a bunch of penalties that includes fines, charges and surcharges, imprisonment or mandatory counseling. In this state there is no difference between DWI and DUI (Driving Under the Influence).
A first-time offender with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% can expect a fine of $250 to $400, a jail term not exceeding 30 days, and suspension of his license for three months. Additionally, there will be a New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission (NJMVC) surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years, and payments of $200 to the DWI Enforcement Fund, $50 to the Violent Crimes Compensation Fund, $75 to the Safe Neighborhood Fund, and $200 for license restoration. He will also have to undergo counseling for 12 to 48 hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), which may cost $150, and extra payment if outpatient counseling is stipulated by the IDRC.
For a first offense, if the alcohol count is 0.1% or more the fine would be between $300 and $500. There is no change in the other charges or jail term, but the license revocation would be for seven months to one year. The court may also direct the offender to fix an Ignition Interlock Device in his vehicle.
In the case of a second offense the fine will be from $500 to $1,000 and imprisonment from 48 consecutive hours to 90 days, loss of license for two years and community service of 30 days, in addition to the fees and charges stipulated for first-time offenders. At the discretion of the judge, the registration of the vehicle may be revoked for two years, instead of installing an ignition interlock device.
If the conviction is for a third offence the fine would be $1,000 and the jail term not less than 180 days. If the offense was committed within three years from the second one, the NYMVC surcharge increases to $1,500.
If a DWI takes place in a school zone the penalties will be stiffer.
A DWI conviction becomes a permanent part of your driving record in New Jersey. Since many insurance companies look into the driving history for three years, the premium could be higher for a person with a DWI tag.
It is well to remember that DWI/DUI convictions in other states will be counted as prior offenses in New Jersey.