Basics of DWI In New Jersey

New Jersey has strict penalties and laws for driving while intoxicated, or more commonly referred to as DWI. When you make the decision to drink and drive, you risk the safety of yourself others on the road, as well as your freedom, finances, and future.

Drinking and Driving Laws

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit of .08%. A BAC of .08% or above is used throughout the United States as the standard for “legally impaired.” There are lower limits for drivers under the age of 21 and drivers of commercial vehicles.

21 or older .08%
Under 21 .00%
Commercial Vehicle Drivers .04%


In the State of New Jersey, all drunk driving convictions result in a mandatory license suspension and require participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program for 12-48 hours. Once enrolled in the IDRC, the program will advise if any additional obligations will be assessed. The severity of the penalties following a DWI conviction depends on a variety of factors.

First Offense:
• $250-$500 fine
• Up to 30 days jail time
• 3 months to 1 year suspended license
• Possible installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Second Offense:
• $500-$1,000 fine
• 90 days jail time
• 30 days community service
• 2 years suspended license
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Subsequent Offenses:
• $1,000 fine
• 180 days jail time
• Attend IDRC
• 10 years suspended license
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

The Ignition Interlock Device is installed in the offender’s primary vehicle during the term of suspension and for 1 to 3 years following restoration. The device requires a breath sample prior to the car starting to prevent drivers from driving if their BAC is over a specified level. There is also a monthly maintenance fee required for the device which on average will cost about $75.

Refusal to Take a Chemical Test

If you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test and refuse, you will be subject to additional penalties and charges.

First offense:
• 7 months to a year license suspension
• $300-$500 Fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Second offense:
• 2 years license suspension
• $500-$1,000 fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Subsequent offenses:
• 10 years license suspension
• $1,000 fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Please remember that the above noted potential penalties are those imposed by the municipal court at the time of the conviction. The State of New Jersey will also impose surcharges of $1,000 a year for three years for each conviction of DWI or refusal.

New Jersey’s strict laws and penalties regarding operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can result in lengthy jail time, extensive fines, and loss of driving privileges. You need an experienced DWI attorney that is able to determine the best defense that will minimize penalties and obtain the best results. Attorney Robert E. DePersia has over 25 years of experience in DWI defense and has been successful in the thousands of cases he has handled. If you have been charged with DWI, call Robert E. DePersia today at (856) 795-9688.