DWI Charges in New Jersey

It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol in New Jersey. The state takes this very seriously, prompting NJ prosecutors to seek maximum penalties in DUI cases. It is important for people charged with drunk driving to know and understand their rights.

Different Levels of DWI Charges are Based on the Driver’s BAC

There are two different levels of DWI charges in New Jersey. The first is for a blood alcohol level between 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent. Individuals facing charges for a DWI under this law could be hit with fines of up to $900, plus an automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 for three years. Drivers may also be sentenced to up to 30 days in prison and 12 to 48 hours at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). The final blow to a person convicted of a first offense DWI is the possible suspension of their driver’s license until interlock is installed on their vehicle for 3-6 months.

Drivers with a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher face more severe penalties. Their licenses could be suspended as well, and the possible fines increase to $1,000 plus a $1,000 insurance surcharge for the next three years. They can also be sentenced to jail time for up to 30 days and required to attend IDRC classes for 12 to 48 hours. Additionally, these drivers are required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for 6-12 months.

For a breath reading of .15% BAC or higher, the defendant will lose their driver’s license for 4-6 months and then have an interlock installed on their vehicle for 9-15 months when they get their license back.

What Are the Penalties for Multiple DWI Convictions?

Drivers facing a second DWI charge or a third DWI charge within 10 years of the previous charge can be hit with even harsher punishments. After a second charge, the person can lose his or her license for one to two years and be required to spend between 48 hours and 90 days in jail. Fines increase to over $1,500, plus another $1,000 insurance surcharge for three years. An ignition interlock device will be installed in every vehicle the driver has access to during the time the driver’s license is suspended, plus two to four years after the license is restored. The driver must also complete 30 days of community service and 12 to 48 hours in the IDRC.

After a third conviction within the 10 years following a second DUI conviction, the driver will lose his or her license for 8 years, and fines again are as high as $1,500 with a $1,500 insurance surcharge per year for three years. Most seriously, the driver will be jailed for six months. The driver must also complete up to 90 days of community service and 12 to 48 hours in IDRC. Just as with a second DWI conviction, ignition interlock devices will be installed in all of the driver’s vehicles for 2-4 years when their license is finally restored.

Contact Travis J. Tormey Today; Speak with an Experienced Mahwah, NJ DWI Lawyer

It is easy to see that drivers facing DWI charges in New Jersey must make sure that their rights are protected. If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, you need a strong advocate on their side. Travis J. Tormey is a knowledgeable criminal law and DWI defense attorney who helps drivers avoid the most serious DUI penalties. Call him at his Paramus or Morristown offices at (201)-330-4979, or email him to schedule a free consultation.


If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.