If you have already been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), being arrested for a second or subsequent DWI can have serious consequences. In New Jersey, the penalties stack for additional DWIs. Even though most penalties for New Jersey crimes and traffic offenses have a possible range of punishments for each offense, committing the same offense multiple times usually convinces prosecutors and judges to use the highest possible penalties. For help with your multiple DWI charges, talk to an experienced South Jersey DWI defense attorney today.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our Atlantic City multiple DWI defense lawyers represent those who were charged with their second, third or further DWI throughout South Jersey. With more than 30 years of combined experience, our DWI defense attorneys for are prepared to challenge the evidence against you and help fight to keep you out of jail. From challenging the legality of your traffic stop to investigating the breath test results, we will fight for you.
Second or Subsequent DWI Offense in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, a second DWI offense automatically qualifies for higher penalties if you are convicted. There is no need for police or prosecutors to charge your second or third DWI as a second or third DWI; the penalties will apply automatically. A first DWI offense can net you a $400 fine, required classes on DWI, a license suspension, and possible jail time. Your second, third, or further DWI will have additional consequences for committing the same crime again.
New Jersey’s DWI laws only count a second or subsequent offense as a second or subsequent offense if it occurs within 10 years of the last offense under the DWI statute. This means that if you committed your first DWI more than 10 years before you were charged with your second DWI, you will face penalties for a first offense DWI instead. Similarly, if you committed your third DWI more than 10 years after your second DWI, it will count again as a second DWI.
Since every DWI offense is punished by a suspended license, you may also face additional punishments for driving with a suspended license. Always be sure to pay any fees and penalties to get your license restored before driving again after a DWI offense. If you aren’t sure whether your license has been restored, talk to an attorney or the MVC (Motor Vehicle Commission) to make sure you can legally drive.
Penalties for Second or Third DWI Offenses
If this is your second offense in the past 10 years, the penalties can include:
Two years of drivers’ license suspension
At least 48 hours in jail,
Fines of $500-$1,000
Insurance surcharges of $1,000 per year for three years
Between 12 and 48 hours of involvement in the New Jersey’s Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) education and screening
If this is your third offense in the past 10 years, the penalties can include:
10 years of drivers’ license suspension
180 days of jail time with no work release or parole
$1,000 in fines,
Insurance surcharges of $1,500 a year for three years
Between 12 and 48 hours of IDRC education and screening
You will also face at least $325 in mandatory fees and surcharges for any DWI offense. Going to the IDRC also has fees of at least $100 for second offense courses.
In addition to the penalties listed above, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. An ignition interlock prevents you from starting your car’s ignition unless it accepts a clean breath sample, free of any alcohol. This can be ordered for a minimum of one year, and a maximum of three years, and you must pay for it.
The court may also revoke your car’s registration certificates and plates. This can last for two years for a second offense, and 10 years for a third or subsequent DWI. This means you will be unable to register your car with the MVC and cannot legally get a license place until the two or 10-year period is over, to help ensure you cannot own a drivable car.
Driving with a DWI-Suspended License in NJ
Since any DWI offense is punished with a license suspension, you can face additional penalties if you are caught driving with a suspended license.
Under N.J.S.A. § 39:3-40, you can face serious penalties for driving with a suspended license. This applies even if you are driving sober after your license was suspended:
For a first offense, there is a $500 fine.
For a second offense, the fine is $750 and there is mandatory jail time of 1-5 days.
For a third or further offense, the fine is $1,000 and you face 10 days in jail.
Your license will also be suspended for an additional six months. You may also lose your ability to register your vehicle, meaning no one can legally drive your car.
For driving with a DWI-suspended license, you also face an additional $500 fine and your license will be suspended for an additional 1-2 years. You can also be sent to jail for 10-90 days. Any repeated violations increase the possible jail sentence by 10 days.
If your license was suspended because of a first offense DWI, and you are caught driving with that license twice during one suspension, it becomes a full-fledged crime. Alternatively, these charges also apply to a first offense of driving with a suspended license after a second offense DWI. Under § 2C:3-40 this is a fourth degree crime, which is typically punishable by up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000. However, this offense adds additional penalties, with a minimum jail time of 180 days. The judge has no discretion to lower this; the 180 days in jail is mandatory.
South Jersey Multiple DWI Defense Lawyer
Multiple DWIs are very serious matters that can affect the rest of your life. Do not take chances with your future. Instead, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Simply call our offices in Atlantic City, Northfield, Cape May Court House or Wildwood today at (609) 625-3006 to schedule your free consultation with our attorneys.