Learn About NJ DWI Law

Contact Roberts & Teeter for your DWI needs

Contact Roberts & Teeter for your DWI needs.

Driving while intoxicated is one of the most serious traffic offenses one can be charged with. A conviction for a DWI will permanently remain on a driving record, as a DWI cannot be expunged. In New Jersey, a person can be charged with driving while intoxicated when they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic drug, or intoxicating liquor.

Did You Know?

  • The state of New Jersey does not plea bargain in DWI cases, which is why DWI matters need to be brought to trial.
  • A DWI charge can be dismissed by the prosecutor if they believe there is a lack of evidence to prove their case.
  • A DWI conviction is classified as a motor vehicle violation, not a crime. This is why a DWI conviction cannot be expunged.
  • In some cases, the State may prove their case solely on a police officer’s observations and without a blood alcohol level.
  • Driving in New Jersey is a privilege, not a right.
  • If a driver under the age of 21 has a blood alcohol level of .01% or more, they will be charged with Driving While Intoxicated.

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Driving While Intoxicated.

A person will be deemed intoxicated if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more. A person can also be charged by permitting another person, who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody. The penalties one can face when convicted of driving while intoxicated are as follows:

Offense Blood Alcohol Concentration Possible Penalty
First DWI 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10% $250-$400 fines
Detainment for 12-48 hours
Up to 30 days in jail
3 month license suspension
  0.10% or higher or influence of drugs $300-$500 fines
Detainment for 12-48 hours
Up to 30 days in jail
7-12 month license suspension
Second DWI 0.08% or higher or influence of drugs $500-$1,000 fines
Detainment for 12-48 hours
30 days community service
Up to 90 days in jail
2 year license suspension
Ignition interlock device
Third DWI 0.08% or higher or influence of drugs $1,000 fine
Detainment for 12-48 hours
30 days community service
No less than 180 days in jail
10 year license suspension
Ignition interlock device

* It is also important to understand that surcharges and Intoxicated Driver Resource Center fees are not included in the chart above. If convicted, on top of the penalties listed above, there are numerous other fees associated with the conviction.

* If the driver is within 1,000 ft. of school property, or driving through a school crossing, the penalties will be increased. Certain criminal charges may be brought if a minor is a passenger in the vehicle.

Refusing to Submit to a Breath Test in New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2. Refusing to Submit to a Breath Test (Alco-Test). In the state of New Jersey, any person who operates a motor vehicle on any public road or highway is deemed to have given their consent to the taking of breath samples for the purposes of determining the amount of alcohol in their blood. The sample must be taken with proper procedure and made in accordance with the provisions provided by the state of New Jersey. The sample shall be taken upon the request of a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe the driver was driving while intoxicated.

The state of New Jersey keeps a record of the test, including the date, time, and result. Upon request, a copy of the record shall be given to the person tested. No sample shall be taken forcibly or against physical resistance. If a person refuses to submit, the police shall inform them of the consequences of refusing to submit to the test. If convicted, a person who refuses a breath test can receive penalties such as a license suspension, fines, and referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. First time offender fines range from $300 to $500, second time offender fines range from $500 to $1,000, and third time offenders will be fined $1,000. This does not include surcharges and IDRC fees that will apply.

In order to be convicted of refusing to submit to a breath test, the municipal court shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence:
1. The arresting officer had probable cause to believe that the person had been driving while intoxicated;
2. Whether the person was placed under arrest; and
3. The person refused to submit to the test upon request by the officer.

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