HOW DO FIRST-OFFENSE DWI CASES WORK IN NEW JERSEY?

In New Jersey, first-offense DWI cases fit into a "two-tiered" sentencing structure in accordance with state statutes. These tiers refer to the suspect's blood-alcohol content (BAC) - the first sentencing tier applies to those with a BAC between 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent, while the second tier applies for those with a BAC above 0.10 percent.

First offense penalties for each tier include the following:

  • First-tier penalties - If your BAC is found to be between 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent, you will be required to pay a $250 to $400 fine and your license will be suspended for three months. You may also face up to 30 days' incarceration, community service and installation of an ignition interlock device for six months to one year. First-time offenders must also enroll in a 12- to 48-hour Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) education course.
  • Second-tier penalties - If your BAC is found to be higher than 0.10 percent, you face more severe penalties. Most significantly, offenders are required to pay a $300 to $500 fine and the mandatory license suspension increases to anywhere between seven months and one year. Again, enrollment in a 12- to 48-hour IDRC course is required; the court may also sentence incarceration for up to 30 days, community service and installation of an ignition interlock device.

If you are arrested on DWI charges in New Jersey, remember that you have a right to defend yourself and a right to legal representation. Consult an attorney for valuable support and advice on how to fight the charges or minimize your penalties.

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