Drunk driving, driving under the influence, or DWI. In New Jersey, and anywhere else for that matter, these simple words represent a range of possible scenarios too numerous to list here. As a New Jersey DWI attorney, my office has represented hundreds of drunk driving cases — many of which involved terrible human and societal costs. Even in the best of situations, the personal price can prove truly devastating, with the stigma of a drunk driving conviction affecting the person’s standing in the community, possible loss of a job, or potential damage to relationships with family and friends.
Financially, a drunk driving conviction can be costly, too. Fines and penalties for second and subsequent DWIs are large, but even first-time offenders can feel the sting. Below are just a few of the potential monetary costs that can be expected for a variety of drunk driving offenses, according to the State of New Jersey (Keep in mind that jail time or community service may also be attached, but is not included here).
First DWI Offense
$250-$400 fine if blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher but less than 0.10 percent ($300-$500 fine if BAC is 0.10 percent or higher); automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years
$500-$1,000 fine, automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years
3rd DWI Offense
$1,000 fine; automobile insurance surcharge of $1,500 per year for three years
Having an Open Alcoholic Container in the Passenger Compartment
$200 fine (first offense); $250 fine (second offense)
Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test
$300-$500 (first offense); $500-$1,000 (second offense); $1,000 fine (third offense);
Automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years (first and second offenses); $1,500 insurance surcharge (third offense)
Driving on a Suspended License Due to DWI
All DWI Offenses
$100 surcharge going to a drunk driving enforcement fund; Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee of $100; Intoxicated Driving Program fee of $100; Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee of $50; Safe and Secure Community Program fee of $75; and a $100 surcharge ($50 for the state and $50 for the municipality which obtained the conviction)