The holiday season means parties and dinners; holiday parties and dinners also mean opportunities for alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, some people will choose to get behind the wheel after having drinks at a holiday party or dinner.
New Jersey takes drinking and driving very seriously, and can impose significant criminal consequences for those involved in driving while intoxicated on the roads of New Jersey.
Risks of Drinking and Driving
Under New Jersey law, a non-commercial driver over the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more are presumed to be unlawfully intoxicated; these limits dip to .04 percent for commercial drivers, and .01 percent for drivers under 21.
Even if you have a BAC under the legal limit, you can still be charged with DUI if there is other evidence that you had an impairment due to alcohol or other drugs that rendered you incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
A first-time conviction for DUI in New Jersey can have potential criminal consequences that vary with your level of intoxication:
- BAC of .08 percent to less than .10 percent: Up to 30 days in fail and a potential fine of $250 to $400; three months of license suspension; requirement to attend Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
- BAC of .10 percent or higher: Up to 30 days in jail and a potential fine of $300 to $500; license suspension of seven to 12 months; requirement to attend Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
A second conviction for DWI in New Jersey carries even more aggressive consequences. If you have a prior DWI conviction within the last 10 years, you face a jail sentence of up to 90 days and a potential fine of $500 to $1,000, along with a driver’s license suspension of two years.
For a third or subsequent DWI conviction within a 10-year period, you will face a mandatory minimum term of incarceration of 180 days, a $1,000 fine, and a 10-year driver’s license suspension.
Jail terms and fines go up if you commit a DWI on or within 1,000 feet of school property or while driving through a school zone.
DWI convictions will also require to pay a $1,000 per year insurance surcharge for three years, and may also obligate you to install an ignition interlock (a breathalyzer connected to your ignition that prevents the vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol) on your vehicles.
Social Host Liability
New Jersey law also imposes liability upon a social host who willingly and knowingly serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, such that it creates an unreasonable risk of bodily injury or death to the intoxicated individual or another person. A social host can be held liable if the intoxicated guest later causes a motor vehicle accident and the guest is found to have a BAC of .10 percent or higher.
In addition, providing alcohol to persons under 21 or making your residence available for underage drinking can subject you to prosecution for a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense.
Contact an Experienced Moorestown DWI Defense Attorney About Your Drunk Driving Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a DWI or DUI offense in New Jersey? A drunk driving conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified DWI defense lawyer about your case. The lawyers at Attorneys Hartman, Chartered represent clients charged with drunk driving, breath test refusal, and related offenses in Marlton, Medford, Mount Laurel, Haddonfield, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 235-0220 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office located at 68 E. Main St. Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.