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What Happens After an Arrest and Charge of DWI in New Jersey?

When someone’s arrested for DWI what are they facing? Are they just facing one criminal charge? Are they facing civil, administrative charges? What’s the totality of it?

First Time Offenders: Possible Jail Term, Loss of License, Fines, Surcharges and Counseling

The totality of the charge is pretty extensive. On a first offense DWI, the first trigger point is what their blood alcohol content was. If his or her blood alcohol level was between 0.08 and 0.10 they are facing a three-month loss of license. They are looking at fines of approximately $1,000. They are looking at jail time of up to 30 days. They are looking at the New Jersey surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years, and they are looking at 12 to 48 hours at the IDRC, which is essentially drug and alcohol training. And that’s for someone between 0.08 and 0.10. By the way, IDRC stands for Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.

It is important to note: Most of the time, if people have consumed two to three cocktails in a short period of time, there’s a good likelihood their blood alcohol level is going to be above a 0.10. In that case, they’re looking at a seven-month to one-year loss of license and about $1,000 to $1,500 in fines.

It’s a New Jersey surcharge of $1,000 a year for three years, a prison term of up to 30 days, and 12 to 48 hours in the IDRC. Obviously, that’s a much steeper license suspension.

Ignition Interlock Devices

The other issue is if they are above a 0.15, there is a mandatory Interlock ignition device, and they may have to have that for six months to one year upon restoration of their license, and that alone will cost $200 to $250 a month, plus the imposition. They pay for it.

The Interlock device is that small Breathalyzer device that you blow into to start your car and to keep it going, right?

Correct. And you have to take it once a month to these facilities. It’s a major imposition; and these are the penalties for first-time offenders.

Criminal and Administrative Charges

Are the driver’s license charges, or loss of license, is that part of the criminal process, or is it something else?

It’s part of the criminal process. It’s managed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, but it is part of the conviction.

So, you have to fight on multiple fronts. When you’re charged with DWI you have to fight to try to maintain your license if you can, you have to try to stay out of jail, and you have to try to fight the charges themselves.

There are frequently companion tickets associated with a DWI. Typically there’s a reckless driving, careless driving, speeding. The police may add on other tickets as well.

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