New Jersey DUI Laws

A DUI in New Jersey, like DUIs in other states, can leave you without your driver’s license and with large fines or even jail time.  New Jersey can charge you with a DUI for failing a field sobriety test, driving recklessly, or having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than .08 per cent.  One unique aspect of a DUI in New Jersey is that the DMV is not involved at all—the only hearing you will attend is your court hearing.

In the state of New Jersey, an officer can make an arrest for the following drunk driving offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, hallucinogenics, or other habit-producing drugs
  • Driving with a BAC of .08 or greater
  • If under 21, driving with a BAC of .01 or greater
  • If a commercial driver, driving with a BAC of .04 or greater

New Jersey DUI Penalties

The following table provides a snapshot of some of the fines and penalties you may have to deal with for a DUI conviction in New Jersey.

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension*
1st Conviction $300-500 Up to 30 Days
Minimum of 3 Months
2nd Conviction $250-400 Up to 90 Days
Minimum of 2 Years
3rd Conviction $1,000 180 Days
Minimum of 10 Years

Your DUI charge may result in having your license suspended, paying a large fine, serving jail time, or taking alcohol education classes.  Punishment depends on several factors, including how drunk you were at the time of arrest and if you caused any damage or injury.  You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car.  The IID contains a built in breathalyzer and forces a driver to pass a breath test with a BAC of no more than 0.05 per cent before the car will start.

On a first conviction, the court can impose fines of up to $500, jail time up to 30 days, and license suspension of 3 months or more.  If you are charged with a second DUI within ten years of the first arrest, it will count as a second offense and carry harsher penalties such as jail time up to 90 days, and license suspension of 2 years or more.  If you are charged with a third DUI, you’ll have your license suspended for ten years, face up to 180 days of jail time, and be required to pay fines of $1,000.  Also, New Jersey can enforce 'John’s Law', a law which gives the state the right to impound your car if you are found driving drunk.

Keep in mind as well that there are many other surcharges associated with a DUI conviction in New Jersey. These include (depending on BAC levels and prior offences) $430 to various funds such as the drunk driving fund and neighborhood services fund, and an additional surcharge of $1,000-1,500 due anually for three years after conviction. 

If you are in need of legal assistance, consult with a DUI/DWI Attorney in your area to receive a free case review. Retaining the services of a New Jersey DUI attorney can dramatically affect the impact of DUI penalties.

The Trial

In New Jersey, DUI cases are not eligible for jury trials, meaning your case will be decided by a judge.  However, if you are found guilty, you can appeal the case.  A different judge will review the trial, listen to arguments, and either agree with the guilty verdict or overturn it.

Special Laws for Under 21 Drivers

In New Jersey, anyone under the age of 21 is subject to a special DUI law.  If these drivers are found driving with a blood alcohol level of .01 per cent or more, they will have their license suspended for a period of 30 to 90 days and be sentenced to community service in addition to any other penalties handed down by the court.

Chemical Testing and Implied Consent Laws

Under New Jersey state law, any licensed person operating a motor vehicle automatically gives his or her consent to an approved breath test for the purposes of showing intoxication.  Refusing to take the test will result in license revocation for a period of 6 months to 10 years.  If the driving offense occured near school property or at a school crossing, and the breath test is refused, possible license revocation up to 20 years can be imposed.

A breath test will only be deemed valid and admissible in court if it is administered by a qualified person using methods set forth by the Attorney General.  In addition, a driver accused of a DUI offense has the right to request a second, independent, chemical test at his or her own expense.

If you are in need of legal assistance, consult with a DUI/DWI Attorney in your area to receive a free case review.
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