Middlesex County DWI Update: A Look at Penalties following a New Jersey Drunken Driving Conviction

We recently discussed the seriousness of a teenager’s conviction for underage DWI. While every parent faced with this type of situation should be rightly concerned, there are other areas of drunken driving defense law that one should also be cognizant of, such as the penalties and fines that adults can face following an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs (drug DUI).

As a New Jersey DWI defense lawyer, I can say that a conviction for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence — either by controlled dangerous substances (CDS) or alcohol — can carry with it some rather severe penalties. Anyone who is arrested for, charged with or accused of a DWI or drug DUI offense should seriously consider seeking the counsel of a qualified legal expert in the area of drunk driving law. An aggressive defense is important to pursue considering the harsh penalties and fines that New Jersey courts tend to levy on those convicted of drunken driving.

For individuals who are convicted of, or who plead guilty to, DWI or drug DUI charges, depending on the particular circumstances a defendant can face jail time, heavy fines, loss of their driver’s license, and the addition of future premium surcharges on their car insurance policy. Of course, penalties following a drunk driving or DUI conviction are dependant on whether that particular conviction is the individual’s first, second or subsequent DWI-DUI offense.

The level of punitive fines also are affected by the official blood-alcohol content (BAC) measurement; concentrations of 0.08 to 0.10 percent or greater at the time of the traffic stop or arrest will determine the specific penalties. Some of the possible DWI-related penalties are listed below:

— Fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 — Jail time upward of six (6) months — Annual insurance surcharges (levied for three years) of $1,000-$1,500 — Fees paid toward the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC)
— Potential community service hours — Driver’s license suspension or revocation for a period ranging from three months to three years — Possible court-ordered installation of an ignition interlock device on the defendant’s vehicle for one to three years
Additional fines and other court costs including:

— $200 toward the DWI Enforcement Fund — $200 for the New Jersey MVC Restoration Charge — $150 in fees for any out-patient counseling (as referred by the IDRC)
— $75 to the Safe Neighborhood Fund — $50 for the Violent Crime Compensation Board Fund — Up to $33 in court costs
Naturally, each DWI or drug DUI case is unique; which usually requires some variation on the defense’s approach to the prosecution’s evidence against the motorist. Seeing as every situation is somewhat different, it is advisable to discuss one’s case with an experienced drunken driving defense attorney. In cases concerning illicit drugs — such as cocaine or marijuana — seeking out the advice of a qualified DUI attorney should not be overlooked.

Having an experienced DWI/DUI defense lawyer at your side may increase one’s chances of either being found not guilty or could favorably affect any judgment pertaining to a possible license suspension/revocation; at the very least a motorist’s driving privileges, if lost initially, could be reinstated more quickly based on the help of a qualified drunk driving defense attorney.