Skip to main content

Costs & Consequences of Drinking & Driving

The consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction vary depending on the facts of your case. Call Rosenberg | Perry & Associates to get the answers you need.

New Jersey has a number of mandatory fines and penalties for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated offenders. The consequences for a DUI or DWI conviction can include fines, surcharges in court, surcharges from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission, jail time, participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), driver’s license suspension, and installation of an interlock device. On December 1, 2019 new DUI/DWI laws in New Jersey went into effect making changes to the potential penalties and requiring all those convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device (IID).

The severity of the consequences you will face often depends on the level of offense and if you are a repeat offender or not. For example, repeat offenders typically pay higher fines than first-time offenders, and a repeat offender may be imprisoned longer than the typical 30-day sentence a first-time offender may be exposed to.

First Offense DUI/DWI Charges & Penalties in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the consequences for a first offense DUI depend on a person’s intoxication level. For individuals involved in a DUI related incident with a BAC of 0.08 – 0.09 (Tier I), consequences can include:

  • License suspension until an ignition interlock device (IID) is installed
  • Mandatory use of an IID for 3 months
  • Potential jail time for up to 30 days
  • Participation in the IRDC prevention program for 12 – 48 hours.

In addition, individuals convicted of this offense will be subject to fines and fees, including:

  • $250 – $400 fine
  • Court fees up to $33
  • $230 IDRC fee
  • $100 to a drunk driving fund (DDEF)
  • $100 to the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF)
  • $1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge to the MVC
  • $75 to the Neighborhood Services Fund

For individuals charged with a DUI with a BAC of 0.10 – 0.14 percent (Tier II), consequences can include:

  • License suspension until an ignition interlock device (IID) is installed
  • Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device during the forfeiture period and 9 – 15 months following license restoration
  • Participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IRDC) prevention program for 12 to 48 hours
  • A potential prison term of up to 30 days

For individuals charged with a DUI with a BAC of .15 or greater (Tier III), consequences can include:

  • Mandatory license suspension for 4 – 6 months
  • Mandatory use of an IID during the forfeiture period and  9 – 15 months following license restoration
  • Participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) for 12 to 48 hours
  • Potential jail time of up to 30 days

First-time DUI offenders (both Tier II and Tier III) are also subject to a number of mandatory fines and surcharges for all convictions, including:

  • $300 – $500 fine
  • $125 DWI surcharge
  • Court fees up to $33
  • $50 to the Victims of Crime Compensation (VCCO)
  • $230 IDRC fee
  • $100 to a drunk driving fund
  • $100 to the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF)
  • $1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge to the Motor Vehicle Commission
  • $75 to the Neighborhood Services Fund
  • Prison term: A first offense DUI/DWI conviction can carry a jail sentence for up to 30 days.

Second Offense DUI/DWI Penalties

A conviction of a second DUI or DWI offense within 10 years of a prior conviction is considered a repeat offense and carries stiffer penalties. Some of the mandatory fines and penalties include:

  • Mandatory license suspension for one (1) to two (2) years
  • Participation in 30 days of community service
  • Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device (IID) during the license suspension for two to four years following license restoration.
  • Participation in the IDRC up to 48 hours
  • A prison term from 48 hours – 90 days

A second DUI offense is also subject to mandatory fees and surcharges imposed by the state of New Jersey, including:

  • $500 to $1,000 fine
  • $125 DWI surcharge
  • Court fees up to $33
  • $50 to the VCCO
  • $280 IDRC fee
  • $100 to a drunk driving fund (DDEF)
  • $100 to the AERF
  • $1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge to the MVC
  • $75 to the Neighborhood Services Fund (SNSF)

Third or Subsequent Offense DUI/DWI Penalties

A conviction of a third or subsequent DUI or DWI offense within 10 years of a second conviction mandates more drastic penalties, some of which include:

  • License suspension for eight (8) years
  • A prison term of 180 days
  • Participation in up to 90 days of community service
  • Participation in the IDRC based on treatment classification
  • Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device during the license suspension for one to four years following license restoration.

Mandatory fees and surcharges for a third or subsequent DUI offense include:

  • $1,000 fine
  • $125 DWI surcharge
  • Court fees up to $33
  • $50 to the VCCO
  • $280 IDRC fee
  • $100 to a drunk driving fund (DDEF)
  • $100 to the AERF
  • $1,500/year (for 3 years) surcharge to the MVC
  • $75 to the Neighborhood Services Fund (SNSF)

Consequences Beyond Mandatory Fines and Penalties

Other penalties apply whether you’re a first-time or repeat offender, like the installation of an ignition interlock device — a breath alcohol analysis device installed on the steering column of your motor vehicle. In some cases, the juvenile arrest process in New Jersey can differ, but no one is exempt from consequences of a DUI conviction.

An ignition interlock device measures the blood alcohol level of the driver, who is required to blow into the device before the car can start. If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a certain level, the car will not start, thus preventing an alcohol-impaired person from driving.

If the court sentences you to have an interlock device installed, you will receive a notice of suspension from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission with instructions on how to obtain the device. Failure to install the device could result in an additional one-year suspension of your driving privileges. Additional license suspension and interlock device time depends on the specifics of your case.

A DUI conviction in New Jersey can impact your future in a number of ways, including losing your license or increasing your motor vehicle insurance rates. This can also cause health, life and disability coverage to spike.

In addition, many credit bureaus include DUI convictions on credit reports, a detail that can negatively affect current and future credit scores. Poor credit can affect employment opportunities or applications for professional licenses if a credit check is required prior to hiring.

Those in military service are forced to deal with an additional set of collateral consequences if convicted of an alcohol or drug-related DUI offense. In addition to state penalties, members of the military may be subject to possible demotion or removal from military service. They are also subject to alcohol education courses, base restriction, privilege restrictions and other forms of punishment.

Unfortunately, there is no conditional driving license in New Jersey that would allow individuals convicted of a DUI to drive to and from work while their license is suspended. This can significantly affect employment status if a person relies on independent transportation. In other cases, employment opportunities may be subject to termination upon receiving a DUI conviction.

Furthermore, if you are unable to pay surcharges, the DMV can suspend your license and then file with the Superior Court for a lien against your property or the ability to garnish your wages.

Other Charges You May Face

You may also face additional charges as a result of your DUI or DWI charge. If you refused you submit a breath test, you may face fines of up to $500 and a license suspension of one year. Possessing an open container in the passenger compartment carries a fine of $200 for the first offense and a $250 fine or community service for a second offense.

Driving while intoxicated or under the influence with a minor 17 years old or younger results in disorderly persons offense and a license suspension of six months and community service.

Hire a New Jersey DUI & DWI Attorney

If you are facing DWI charges in New Jersey, it’s imperative you speak with a qualified defense attorney immediately.

There are a number of defenses available to eliminate or mitigate the impact of these charges on your life. For example, the charge may be reduced to a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, or your attorney could argue law enforcement did not have probable cause in pulling you over.

With the help of the Rosenberg | Perry & Associates legal team, we may be able to get your charges reduced or dropped, sparing you the many costs and consequences associated with charges for driving while intoxicated.

We Can Help