BLOG

Home » Blog » MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE & DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED QUESTIONS

MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE & DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED QUESTIONS

by | Feb 8, 2021

Over the years, in representing hundreds of clients who have been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offenses, the same questions are frequently asked. While this is a list of common questions, this firm has been asked, it may not be a question you have regarding your specific DUI and/or DWI ticket. If you have received a ticket for DUI and/or DWI, please contact one of this firms experience Municipal Certified or Criminal Certified Attorneys, who will be happy to discuss with you, your particular matter.


What is Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol?

Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), is a provision of the New Jersey Drunk Driving Statute, which provides that a driver can be convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor even when the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content is below 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit or per se level. A DUI is often considered an “observation” offense as it is often established based on the observations of the arresting officer, concerning the manner in which the driver, speaks, moves, talks, looks, walks, smells, performs during the field sobriety tests.


What is Driving While Intoxicated?

Driving While Intoxicated is the charge of operating a motor vehicle within the State of New Jersey while drunk. In order to establish guilt of the driver, the State must establish:

  • A driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol; OR
  • A driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more; OR
  • A driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug; OR
  • A person permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody; OR
  • A person permits another person to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more; OR
  • Operates a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.04.

I have been issued a ticket for a DUI/DWI, do I need an attorney?

A DUI and/or DWI is a serious charge in the State of New Jersey, where an individual can lose his or her ability to operate their vehicle for a substantial period of time and pay thousands of dollars. Hiring an experienced attorney can make the difference between a disastrous resolution and a possible dismissal of the offense. If you received a DUI/DWI motor vehicle summons contact Triarsi, Betancourt, Wukovits, & Dugan, L.L.C., for a free consultation on your DUI and/DWI charge.

What are the different DUI/DWI sentences I face if I am found guilty of a DUI/DWI in New Jersey?

In December 2019, New Jersey enacted sweeping changes in the manner in which someone is sentenced under the States DUI and DWI laws. The sentence an individual faces is based on the number of times a person is convicted of a DUI and/or DWI offense and the offender’s level of blood alcohol concentration.

The new law provides that for a first offense of a DUI or DWI, which is based on observation or a blood alcohol content between .08% and .099%, the offender is subject to having an ignition interlock device on the vehicle for three (3) months, his or her driving privileges forfeited until an ignition interlock device is installed, plus fines and assessments, mandatory completion of the IDRC, potential of up to thirty (30) days in jail, and an insurance surcharge for three (3) years.

The new law provides that for a first offense of a DWI, which is based on a blood alcohol content between .10% and .149%, the offender is subject to having an ignition interlock device on the vehicle for seven (7) to twelve (12) months, his or her driving privileges forfeited until the ignition interlock device is installed, plus fines and assessments, mandatory completion of the IDRC, potential of up to thirty (30) days in jail, and an insurance surcharge for three (3) years.

The new law also provides that for a first offense of a DWI, which is based on a blood alcohol content of .15% and above, the offender is subject to having an ignition interlock device on the vehicle for the time period that the offender’s driving privileges are suspended plus an additional nine (9) to fifteen (15) months after the offender’s driving privileges have been returned, his or her driving privileges forfeited for four (4) to six (6) months after the ignition interlock device is installed, plus fines and assessments, mandatory completion of the IDRC, potential of up to thirty (30) days in jail, and an insurance surcharge for three (3) years.

With regard to a second time offender of a DUI or DWI, the guilty party is subject to a drivers’ license forfeiture for one (1) to two (2) years, plus fines and assessments, a mandatory ignition interlock device for three (3) to six (6) years, mandatory jail between two (2) and ninety (90) days, mandatory completion of the IDRC, thirty (30) days of community service, and an insurance surcharge for three (3) years.

With regard to a third time offender of a DUI or DWI, the guilty party is subject to a drivers’ license forfeiture for eight (8) years, plus fines and assessments, a mandatory ignition interlock device for ten (10) to twelve (12) years, mandatory jail of one hundred and eighty (180) days (in which 90 days could be served in an in-patient treatment program), mandatory completion of the IDRC, and an insurance surcharge for three (3) years.

What is the Blood Alcohol Content Level to be found guilty in New Jersey for a so-called per se DWI violation for a regular driver’s license?

In New Jersey the current blood alcohol concentration limit for a per se violation of New Jersey’s DWI laws for a regular driver’s license is 0.08%.

What is the Blood Alcohol Content Level to be found guilty in New Jersey for a so-called per se DWI violation for an operator of a commercial vehicle?

In New Jersey the current blood alcohol concentration limit for a per se violation of New Jersey’s DWI laws for of a person operating a commercial vehicle is 0.04%.

What is the Alcotest?

The Alcotest is the machine that the State of New Jersey currently uses to ascertain and determine the blood alcohol content of a suspected driver of DUI and/or DWI. The machine requires a person to provide two (2) breath sample and the machine reads the sample and provides a reading as to the person’s blood alcohol content.

Can I refuse to take the Alcotest?

New Jersey has an implied consent law, which requires all drivers to take a breath test if they are pulled over on suspicion of DUI and/or DWI. As a result, a driver has given their implied consent to take a breath test. If a driver does not consent to a breath test, the driver will be given a summons for refusing to take a breath test and …. can still be issued a summons for DUI.

As a result, you can refuse the Alcotest, but you will, in all likelihood, be issued a refusal ticket which includes a forfeiture of one’s driver’s license, plus fines and assessments, IDRC, interlock device for a substantial period of time, and an insurance surcharge.


I received a DUI/DWI in New Jersey and I was previously found guilty of a prior DUI/DWI in another State, what happens?


The effects of an out of state DWI conviction on your current DUI and/or DWI case is dependent on the facts of the out of state case. Under New Jersey case law, a conviction of a violation of a law of a substantially similar nature in another jurisdiction, shall constitute a prior conviction, unless the defendant can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the conviction in the other jurisdiction was based exclusively upon a violation of a proscribed alcohol concentration of less than 0.08%. The case of N.J. Div. of Motor Vehicles v. Ripley, 364 N.J. Super. 343, 349 (App.Div. 2003), the Court held that the “out of state conviction was not substantially similar to a New Jersey DWI conviction and the defendant was not subject to enhanced penalties.” However, in State v. Zeikel, 423 N.J. Super. 34 (App.Div. 2011), the Court held that the “out of state conviction was substantially similar to a New Jersey DWI conviction and the defendant was subject to enhanced penalties.”

What are the fines associated with a DUI/DWI?

The fines a party has to pay are based on the number of DUI and/or DWIs a person has previously been found guilty and the level of a person’s blood alcohol concentration

For a first time DUI or a DWI in which the Blood Alcohol Content is between 0.08 and 0.099, the fine is between $250.00 and $400.00. For a first time DUI or a DWI, in which the Blood Alcohol Content is between 0.10 and 0.149, the fine is between $300.00 and $500.00. For a first time DUI or a DWI, in which the Blood Alcohol Content is 0.15, and greater the fine is between $300.00 and $500.00.

For a Second time offender the fine can range from $500.00 to $1,000.00. For a Third time Offender, the fine is $1,000.00.


Will I go to jail for a DUI/DWI?

This depends on a number of factors, which include, most importantly, how many DUI and/or DWIs you previously had, your overall driving record, was someone injured on your current DUI/DWI offense. Under New Jersey law, the court has the discretion to sentence you to up to thirty (30) days for a first-time DUI/DWI offense. If a person is found guilty as a second-time offender, a party is subject to a mandatory two (2) to ninety (90) days in jail. This is often served in an overnight IDRC program. If a person is found guilty as a third or subsequent offender, the law provides that the party must be sentenced to six (6) months in jail; however, three (3) months can be served in an inpatient facility, which is authorized by the Court.

What are the financial ramifications of being found guilty of a DUI/DWI in New Jersey?

If a person is found guilty of a DUI/DWI in New Jersey the financial ramifications are quite severe. A person will have to pay a fine, pay court cost and assessments, pay for the Ignition Interlock Device (IID), pay for the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) Program, and pay auto insurance surcharges.

Fines:

The amount someone will pay in fines depends on the amount of prior DWI convictions the party has, the severity of the DUI/DWI, and the discretion of the Judge.

If someone is found guilty of a first offense DUI or a DWI with a blood alcohol concentration between .08 and .099 then that person is looking at a fine between $250.00 and $400.00.

If someone is found guilty of a first offense DUI or a DWI with a blood alcohol concentration between .10 and .149 then that person is looking at a fine between $300.00 and $500.00

If someone is found guilty of a first offense DUI or a DWI with a blood alcohol concentration of .150 and greater then that person is looking at a fine between $300.00 and $500.00.

If someone is found guilty of a second offender DUI or a DWI the fine is between $500.00 and $1,000.00.

If someone is found guilty of a third offender DUI or a DWI the fine is $1,000.00.

Cost of the IID:

While the costs of the IID varies depending on the company, it is estimated that it costs approximately seventy ($70.00) to one hundred and fifty ($150.00) dollars to install the IID and approximately sixty ($60.00) to eighty ($80.00) dollars per month for device monitoring and calibration.

Cost for the IDRC:

The cost of the Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center is currently $264.00, for first time offenders and $321.00 for second time offenders, which must be paid prior to attending the class. In addition, a person must pay the Motor Vehicle Commission a $100.00 attendance fee.

Assessments:

The assessments and the amount of assessments in New Jersey for a DUI/DWI constantly change; at the present, a person found guilty of a DU/DWI will pay the following assessments in the amount of:

Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund Surcharge$100.00
Safe Neighborhood Services Fund Surcharge$ 75.00
General Assessment$ 7.00
Violent Crime Assessment$ 50.00
Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund$100.00
Body Armor Fund$ 1.00
Spinal Cord Fund$ 1.00
Autism Fund$ 1.00
DNA Fund$ 2.00
Brain Injury Research Fund$ 1.00

Court Costs:

At the present, a person has to pay a court cost of $33.00.

Insurance Surcharges:

A person will have to pay surcharges to the State of New Jersey. For a first and second DWI Offender this will consist of a surcharge of $1,00.00 per year for three (3) years, for a total of $3,000.00. For a third-time offender or more this will consist of a surcharge of $1,500.00 per year for three (3) years, for a total of $4,500.00.

Restoration Fee:

At the present, the restoration fee that a person has to pay to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, in order to have their license restored is $100.00.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?

Is a mandatory device required to be applied in the primary vehicle operated by an individual found guilty of DUI and/or DWI. It requires a driver to provide a breath sample before they start the vehicle and will not allow the vehicle to start if the system identified a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or higher. In addition, the device requires the driver to provide a periodic breath sample while you are operating the vehicle. This device must be installed and regularly calibrated, at a cost to the operator. If you fail to install the IID, you are subject to an additional summons and will not be able to get your driver’s license or driving privileges back.

What is the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) Program?

Is a program mandated by the State of New Jersey, which any person convicted of a DUI or DWI must attend, in order to restore their driving license and/or driving privileges. The current attendance fee is $100.00. The purpose of the program is to educate drivers about the dangers of alcohol and drugs as it relates to motor vehicles. In addition, the program has the authority to refer, monitor, and guide those who are in need of additional drug and alcohol treatment.

If I am found guilty of a DUI/DWI offense, will I have to complete a period of Community Service?

The answer is “yes;” under New Jersey law, if you are found guilty as a second time offender as a DUI and/or DWI Offender, you will have a mandatory thirty (30) day community service component as part of the sentence. The thirty (30) days will be monitored by the Court.

What is the ten (10) year “step down?”

The same is a rule in New Jersey that provides that if ten (10) years have passed between an offender’s first and second DUI/DWI conviction or a second and third DUI/DWI conviction, the Courts must sentence the offender as though they have one less conviction.

Richard D. Huxford is a Certified Municipal Attorney at Triarsi, Betancourt, Wukovits, & Dugan, L.L.C., with many years of experience in handling DUI/DWI matters. Feel free to contact him directly to discuss your DUI/DWI matter at (908) 709-1700, on his cellular phone at (908) 370-1393, or by e-mail at rdh@tbwdlaw.com.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. We disclaim all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content contained herein.

Send Us a Message

Recent Blog Posts

Have You Been Wrongfully Terminated in New Jersey?

A common question I get from clients or potential clients is “have I been wrongfully terminated?” In New Jersey as in most other jurisdictions, your employment is “at will” unless your employment contract specifies otherwise. This means that you can be terminated for...

I Was Injured in a Car Accident. What Should I Do?

Being involved in a car accident is a scary experience. Your health and well-being should be your number one priority. You should always call 9-1-1 to report the accident and request medical attention, if needed. It is never a good idea to just exchange information...