Even if this is your first time being charged with DWI and there are no aggravating factors, a conviction will still have major repercussions including steep fines and possible jail time. But if there are aggravating factors—for example, if you were driving within 1,000 feet of a school zone or if there was a minor in your car at the time of your arrest—your charges and penalties could be enhanced.
If you are facing DWI charges, it is crucial that you contact a criminal attorney immediately. Even if you failed the breath test and field sobriety tests, there may be a defense that leads to reduced charges, a reduced sentence, or the outright dismissal of your case.
To discuss potential defense strategies that apply to your situation, contact my office in New Jersey. Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a free consultation with a Jersey City DWI lawyer from the Law Office of Eric M. Mark.
Let’s examine six factors that could aggravate or enhance DWI charges:
- Your BAC at the Time of Your Arrest
If your BAC was greater than 0.08 percent but less than 0.10 percent at the time of your arrest and it is your first offense, your penalties will include a fine of $250 to $400 and a driver’s license suspension for three months, in addition to other penalties. However, if your BAC was 0.10 percent or greater, the fine increases to $300 to $500 and your driver’s license will be suspended for seven months to one year.
If you were found to have a BAC of 0.15 percent or greater and it is your first offense, you will have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle while your driver’s license is suspended and for six months to one year following restoration. Bear in mind that even if your BAC was below 0.15, you may still be ordered to install an IID.
- Repeat Convictions
If you are convicted of a second DWI within 10 years of your first offense, you will face enhanced penalties. Your driver’s license suspension will increase to two years, and your fine will jump to $500 to $1,000. Also, your IDRC fee will increase from $230 to $280.
You will also face a mandatory 48 hours’ incarceration and up to 90 days in jail, as well as 30 days of community service. You will have to install an IID on your vehicle during your license suspension and for one to three years following restoration.
For a third DWI offense within 10 years of the second, you will have to pay a mandatory $1,000 fine, as well as a $1,500 surcharge every year for three years (this surcharge is $1,000 per year for a first or second offense). You will face 180 days in jail and 90 days of community service, which can reduce your period of imprisonment.
Other factors that could enhance or aggravate DWI charges include:
- Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle;
- Causing a collision;
- Causing a collision that injures or kills a person; or
- Driving under the influence within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
If you are facing DWI charges, contact my office to discuss your situation. I will compassionately represent your interests and work tirelessly to help you resolve your case in the best way possible. Call 973-453-2009 for a free consultation with a criminal attorney in Jersey City.