How Do DWI Penalties Change in NJ if You Are Speeding?

Driving over the speed limit and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are separate driving offenses – but if you combine the two, you may be looking at increased penalties. Certainly, the penalties will add up, since you can suffer the penalties for each offense. However, the penalties for DWI may be worse if you were speeding, and the penalties for speeding may be worse if you were drunk while speeding. If you were charged with any serious traffic offenses like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, talk to an attorney right away. The Atlantic City DWI defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent those charged with DWI and other crimes in South Jersey.

What are the Penalties for Speeding and DWI?

DWI is illegal under N.J.S.A. § 39:4-50. This places it under the “Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations” section of New Jersey’s laws, but it is still treated as a serious crime. With this treatment, it is no surprise that the penalties for DWI include potential jail time and high fines.

For a first DWI offense, there are two tiers:

  1. The first tier includes DWI based on general alcohol intoxication and driving with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08% to .10%
  2. The second tier includes DWI based on drugs and driving with a BAC over .10%.

A first tier DWI carries a $250-400 fine, up to 30 days in jail, and a 3-month drivers’ license suspension. A second tier DWI carries a $300-500 fine, up to 30 days in jail, and a license suspension between 7 months and 1 year.

A second offense DWI of any kind carries a fine of $500-1,000, at least 2 days in jail (up to 90 days), and 30 days of community service. A third or subsequent DWI carries a $1,000 fine, at least 180 days in jail, and a 10-year license suspension.

There are other penalties on each case, such as $325 in other fees and yearly drivers’ licensing surcharges. You also may be required to use an ignition interlock on your car, which prevents the car from starting without a clean breath sample. This is mandatory for repeat offenders, who also face the possibility of losing their ability to register a vehicle for a certain number of years.

Speeding is a much less serious offense, but can become more serious if you were driving faster. Driving even 1 mph over the speed limit can mean a fine of around $85. If you drive 10 mph over, the fine increases, and increases again at 5 mph increments. If you drive more than 20 mph over the speed limit, the find is doubled. The fine also doubles for speeding in a “safe corridor” on the highway or by driving over the speed limit in a 65-mph zone.

Both offenses can also put points on your license, which can lead to license suspension, additional costs and surcharges to remove points, and increased insurance premiums.

Increased Penalties in NJ for Speeding While DWI

If you are both speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may face both fines. However, since the fines for DWI and speeding are given as ranges, the judge always has the option of increasing the fine within that range. For instance, a first time DWI where you comply with police and follow any requirements set by the court may end with the lowest possible fine of $250. However, a judge may see speeding or swerving dangerously as a worse DWI offense, and may increase the DWI fine to the statutory maximum of $400 and demand you spend a few days in jail.

Sentencing is the stage of your case where the actual penalties are decided. Judges often have broad powers to hear any evidence, and take it into consideration when deciding the final fines and jail time. NJ’s DWI statute gives ranges for fines and jail time, meaning a judge may forego jail time entirely when possible, and may adjust fines or jail to whatever fits the specifics of your case.

If your DWI case has worse circumstances, the judge may take those facts into consideration, whether or not they count as a separate offense. This could mean getting higher penalties on DWI charges for things like failing to cooperate with police, arguing with the judge, or even speeding. Even if the speeding is not charged as a separate crime, and even if there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge can still use the speeding to justify a higher sentence.

Speeding while driving drunk can also constitute other serious traffic offenses, such as reckless driving. Those penalties would also stack along with the DWI penalties, and could increase your fines, license suspensions, and other consequences.

South Jersey DWI Lawyer

The Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent people accused of DWI in Hamilton Township and beyond. If you or a loved one was charged with DWI and speeding at the same time, talk to an attorney. Call our law offices at (609) 616-4956 today to schedule a free consultation on your case.

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