Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime in every state. Most states, including New Jersey, impose a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08%. Once you meet this limit, you can be charged with a DWI. In some cases, you may even be charged for a BAC under this limit. DWIs come with a whole host of penalties, including a suspension of your driver’s license. Exactly how long your license will be suspended may depend on your BAC level and your history of DWIs.
For your very first DWI, you may still face license suspensions despite a previously clean driving record. DWIs can really wreak havoc on every aspect of your life. Not only are there criminal and civil consequences, but a DWI will hinder your ability to drive at all. If you are facing your very first DWI charge, do not think you will get off easy or be let go with a warning. You may lose your license and pay costly fines. Subsequent DWI violations will result in even higher fines and longer license suspensions, possibly for years. An attorney is necessary to help you fight your charges.
If you have been charged with your first DWI, do not panic. Our experienced New Jersey DWI defense attorneys can help you understand your charges and fight to clear your name. Schedule a free and private legal consultation with our team at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956.
DWI Penalties and License Suspensions in New Jersey for First-Time Offenses
A first-time DWI offense will be punished by harsh fines and a suspension of your driver’s license. The extent of your penalties will be influenced depending on your BAC level at the time of the arrest. Generally, the higher your BAC, the greater your penalties will be.
If your BAC was at least .08% but under .10%, you may be required to pay fines of at least $250 but no more than $400. You will also have your driver’s license suspended until you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This device will prevent your vehicle from starting if it detects any alcohol on your breath. For a first-time offender within the BAC range mentioned above, your license is usually suspended only until the ignition interlock device is installed.
If your BAC is at least .10% but under .15%, your fines will increase to at least $300 but no more than $500. You will also lose your license until you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. You may also face potential jail time of up to 30 days.
If your BAC is 15% or higher, your fines will increase and your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 4 months but no longer than 6 months in addition to the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. If your DWI was for drugs rather than alcohol, you will lose your license for at least 7 months but no longer than 1 year. Call our South Jersey DWI defense lawyers to talk about your case with our experienced team.
How long your ignition interlock device must be installed in your vehicle will depend on your BAC at the time of your DWI. However, if you choose not to install the device, your license will be suspended for one year in addition to any other suspensions. Tampering with your ignition interlock device or having another person blow into it for you may be a disorderly persons offense.
Refusal to Submit to Testing for a First-Time DWI in New Jersey
After the police arrest you for a DWI, they will ask you to submit to chemical testing so they can get an accurate measurement of your BAC. Your BAC is needed to determine your level of intoxication and the severity of your charges. You may think that by refusing to submit to testing, you cannot be charged. However, chemical testing after an arrest is legally required and cannot be refused.
If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, like a breathalyzer, you will face additional penalties after being arrested for a DWI. For a refusal in connection to a first-time DWI, you will lose your driver’s license until you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
This penalty is the same penalty for the DWI; however, it is a separate consequence. Even if you are found not guilty of the DWI, you must still install the ignition interlock device in your vehicle or lose your license. Challenging the penalties for a refusal to submit to testing is different from challenging the DWI itself. Call our Brigantine DWI defense lawyers for more information.
First-Time DWI Penalties for Underage Offenders in New Jersey
DWIs may be imposed for any driver on the road. People often get their driver’s license before the age of 18, but they cannot legally purchase nor consume alcohol until they are at least 21. Even if a driver is under the age of 21, they will still be charged with a DWI. However, their penalties will be somewhat different than for drivers who are of legal drinking age.
If a driver under the age of 21 has a BAC of at least .01%, but still less than .08%, they will lose their driver’s license for at least 30 days but no longer than 90 days. If you do not have a license yet, you will be barred from obtaining one for 30 to 90 days starting the day you become eligible for a license. You may also face mandatory community service.
If your child was under the age of 21 at the time of their DWI, you should speak with our Cape May DWI defense lawyers immediately. We can help you fight the DWI and work towards an expungement of your child’s record in the future.
Contact Our New Jersey DWI Defense Lawyers to Fight Your License Suspension
If you or someone you know is facing DWI charges for the very first time, our Wildwood DWI defense attorneys can help you. Our team has the skills and experience to challenge your DWI and minimize legal penalties. Schedule a free consultation with our helpful staff by calling the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.