NJ Drunk Driving

In New Jersey, the terms “DUI” and “DWI” are used interchangeably. Both refer to the charge of operating a boat or motor vehicle while one’s blood alcohol content is .08% or higher.

Blood alcohol content is measured with an electronic device known as a Breathalyzer. If a driver is pulled over on the suspicion that he or she is intoxicated, an officer may administer a Breathalyzer test. The device uses a breath sample to determine the driver’s blood alcohol content. If a driver’s blood alcohol content is higher than the legal limit of .08% for drivers over the age of 21 or .01% for drivers younger than 21, he or she may be charged with a DWI. All licensed New Jersey drivers give consent to the Breathalyzer when they receive their licenses, thus giving what’s known as implied consent if they are ever in a situation where one may be used. Refusing to take the Breathalyzer test will result in a DWI charge equal to that of a driver with a blood alcohol content of .10% or higher. This charge carried a driver’s license suspension of seven months to one year.

A first offense DWI charge’s penalties are determined by the driver’s blood alcohol content at the time of his or her arrest. There are three tiers of penalties for this offense.

If a driver’s blood alcohol content is between .08% and .10%, he or she faces:

Loss of license for three months

12 to 48 hours of drug education through the Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center (IDRC)

Multiple fines and fees

For drivers with .10% blood alcohol or higher,

Loss of license for seven to twelve months

12 to 48 hours of IDRC drug education

Higher fines than those imposed on drivers with .08% blood alcohol content

If the driver is found to have a blood alcohol content of .15% or higher, he or she faces:

An ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle

Loss of driver’s license for seven months to one year

Associated DWI fines and fees

Up to 48 hours of IDRC education

A second offense DWI charge carries steeper penalties for a driver. These include a loss of driver’s license for up to two years, up to ninety days in jail, community service, installation of an ignition interlock device, drug education and multiple fines and fees payable to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and other organizations created to reduce drunk driving violations in New Jersey.

For a third offense DWI to count as a driver’s third, it must occur within ten years of his or her second DWI offense. If it has been more than ten years since a driver’s previous DWI, this offense carries the same penalties as a second offense DWI charge. If it is deemed to be a driver’s third DWI, the driver faces the following penalties:

Suspension of his or her driver’s license for up to ten years

A minimum jail sentence of six months

A $1,000 fine imposed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, along with other fees

An ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle

Mandatory drug and alcohol education through the IDRC

A person’s blood alcohol content is determined by his or her sex and weight along with the amount of alcohol consumed, the rate at which it’s consumed and the amount of food he or she eats while consuming alcohol. Alcohol is metabolized at a rate of .015% every hour. This is the only way to metabolize alcohol. Consuming coffee, taking a shower or any other method, cannot lower one’s blood alcohol content. Only time can lower it.

If you have been charged with a DWI in New Jersey, call Ron Bar-Nadav to discuss your legal options. His experience with New Jersey’s DWI laws can help you build and fight your case.