The risk of losing your drivers’ license, the risk of jail time, and the potential of hurting others is always present when you get behind the wheel drunk. If these reasons are not enough to avoid driving while intoxicated (DWI), one of the biggest penalties is the fines and costs associated with your DWI charges. The costs of these fines and charges as they stand at the beginning of 2021 can be a heavy financial burden if you are convicted for DWI.
The Atlantic City DWI lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych understand the potential fines, surcharges, penalties, and other costs you might face in your DWI case. For a free consultation on your DWI case, call our law offices today at (609) 445-3728.
Pre-Trial Costs of DWI in New Jersey
There are many steps to a DWI charge, and you face different costs at every level. At the very outset of a case, you will usually be pulled over and arrested under suspicion of DWI. The police will arrest you and take you to a location where they can have blood drawn or get a chemical test of your breath. These lab fees may ultimately cost you, since you are the one accused of the crime.
In addition, you may need to post bail to get out of jail. Bail is usually returned if you cooperate and appear at all future court dates. If you are ultimately convicted, any money taken for bail will be applied to your fines, but it can be expensive to pay bail amounts at the beginning of your case. Fortunately, most judges in New Jersey avoid cash bail and will only ask for a small amount of money, if any, to ensure you appear at court.
There are also costs associated with hiring an attorney on your case.
2021 Fines for DWI in New Jersey
Each level of DWI has a different fine associated with it. There are two “tiers” of DWI for a first-time offense, plus additional penalties for a second DWI, and for any DWI after the second. The following DWIs each have the potential fine listed below:
- First time DWI for alcohol or a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .08%-.10%: $250-$400 fine
- First time DWI for a BAC of .10% or higher, or drug DWI: $300-$500 fine
- Second DWI (of any kind) within 10 years: $500-$1000 fine
- Third or subsequent DWI (of any kind) within 10 years: $1,000 fine.
Note that most of these fines are a range of amounts. Judges and prosecutors should take into account the facts of your case, your driving record, prior DWIs from more than 10 years ago, injuries you caused while driving under the influence, and other factors. Ultimately, justice may demand only a small fine in many cases, and an attorney can help argue these fines down.
2021 Surcharges and Feeds for DWI in NJ
On top of the fines, you will be required to pay other surcharges and costs to the State of New Jersey. As part of any DWI conviction, you will usually be ordered to attend classes and evaluations at the Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center (IDRC). As part of this, you will be required to pay for those services. In Atlantic County, this costs $264. You may also be required to pay:
- A $100 “attendance fee” to the MVC (Motor Vehicle Commission),
- A $321 “second offender fee” to the IDRC.
If you lost your license, which is standard for any DWI offense, you cannot get it back until you complete the IDRC requirements, and may face additional suspensions for refusing to cooperate with IDRC. To get your license back, there is a $100 restoration fee.
In an attempt to provide community education and defray the costs that DWI has on the community, New Jersey also requires other fees against DWI defendants. These include:
- $100 to the “drunk driving enforcement fund,”
- $100 to the “Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund” (AERF),
- $75 to the Neighborhood Services Fund, and
- Up to $33 in court costs
There are also “surcharges” applied to drivers after a DWI. These come on top of all fines and other charges, and are assessed against drivers for any excessive traffic offenses. Since DWI is the most serious traffic offense, it has the most serious surcharges:
- $1,000/year for 3 years for a first time DWI,
- $1,000/year for 3 years for a second DWI offense, as well, and
- $1,500/year for 3 years after a third or subsequent DWI.
If you are ordered to use an ignition interlock to prevent you from driving without first blowing a clean breath test, you will also be required to pay a rental fee for this device. This can grow to be very expensive if you need an interlock for an extended period.
After fines, fees, and surcharges, you ultimately face around $4,500-$5,000 in total costs for an average DWI offense in New Jersey.
Atlantic City DWI Lawyers Representing Drivers Across NJ
To avoid conviction for DWI and avoid these heavy fees, fines, charges, and surcharges, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. The Atlantic City DWI lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych have represented hundreds of DWI clients across South Jersey, and have decades of legal experience. For a free consultation on your case, contact our Atlantic City defense lawyers today at (609) 445-3728.