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NEW JERSEY RECENT DWI LAW CHANGES AND WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU

by | Feb 10, 2021

In December 2019, the State of New Jersey adopted radical changes to its Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws.  These changes have a far-reaching affect on anyone charged with these offenses in the State of New Jersey.

Prior to the December 2019 amendments to the DWI & DUI laws, anyone found guilty of a DUI or DWI in the State of New Jersey faced the following penalties:

 A person found guilty of a DUI, which was someone below the per se violation and based primarily on the police officer’s observations that the individual was under the influence of alcohol, was subject to a loss of driving privileges in the State of New Jersey for three (3) months, plus fines and assessments, a potential ignition interlock device (which is a device a driver blows into before the vehicle will start and the driver has to periodically blow into while driving the vehicle), potential jail, mandatory completion of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center classes (IDRC), and an insurance surcharge for three (3) years.

A person found guilty of a first time DWI, which was someone found guilty of having a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater or found guilty of being under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit producing drug, was subject to a loss of driving privileges between seven (7) months to one (1) year, plus fines and assessments, a potential ignition interlock device for a time period set by the Court, potential jail, mandatory completion of the IDRC, and an insurance surcharge for three (3) years.     

A person found guilty of a second time offender of a DUI or DWI, was subject to a loss of driving privileges for two (2) years, plus fines and assessments, a mandatory ignition interlock device for a time period set by the Court, 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.    

A person pound guilty of a third time offender of a DUI or DWI, was subject to a loss of driving privileges for ten (10) years, plus fines and assessments, a mandatory interlock device for a time period set by the Court, 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.   

The significant changes in December 2019, compelled the offending party to obtain an ignition interlock device for a period of time, but the actual loss of diving privileges is substantially reduced.

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 provides that for a first offense of a DWI, which is based on a blood alcohol content between .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 are 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 having his or her driving privileges forfeited 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 having his or her driving privileges forfeited 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.  

The DUI and DWI laws in the State of New Jersey have changed and are continuing to change, but an individual charged with a DUI and/or DWI still faces thousands of dollars in fines, assessments, and surcharges, the potential loss of driving privileges, the costs of going to the IDRC program, and the costs and dilemma of having to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a substantial period of time.   

If you are arrested and charged with a DUI and/or DWI offense in New Jersey, it is vital to obtain representation from experienced attorneys, who specialize and handle these types of cases.  While the severity of the consequences is now different and increasingly costly, it is important to have an attorney fight for you in the Municipal Court and to guide you through the DUI/DWI maze.

If you have been charged with a DUI and/or DWI offense and are in need of representation, Certified Municipal Court and Certified Criminal Trial attorneys are available to meet and discuss with you your matter.  Call Triarsi, Betancourt, Wukovits, & Dugan, L.L.C., to set up a meeting.

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.

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