Newark, NJ- Every year thousands of New Jersey motorists are charged with driving while intoxicated, a charge that can carry harsh penalties. Certain circumstances associated with a DWI arrest can result in enhanced penalties which may include mandatory jail time, higher fines and longer license suspension periods. In this blog, I will discuss some of the reasons you could face enhanced penalties for your New Jersey DWI and some of the potential consequences you face.
A conviction for a first-time DWI, with no extenuating circumstances, carries a penalty of up to 30 days in jail, fines ranging between $250 and $400 and a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for at least 3 months. Those are the basic penalties for the lowest level DWI-first offense but there are several situations in which a DWI conviction can lead to enhanced penalties like longer jail times and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock. Here are some of the extenuating circumstances that can lead to enhanced penalties for your New Jersey DWI and the possible consequences as outlined by the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles:
High Blood Alcohol Concentration: If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.10 or above and you are convicted of DWI, in addition to potential jail time of up to 30 days in jail, fines between $300 and $500 and 7 to 10 months and you could also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your car.
Second, third or subsequent DWI offense: If you have been arrested for your second, third or subsequent DWI, you face enhanced penalties if your arrests occurred within a 10-year period. A second DWI offense carries a minimum of 48 hours in jail up to 90 days in jail, fines between $500 and $1,000, license suspension for up to two years. For a second and subsequent DWI offense, you will also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
DWI with a minor child in your car: Driving while impaired with a child aged 16 and under in car may also result in additional charges and enhanced penalties. In some cases, defendants can be charged DWI-with a minor child which carries a possible jail-term of 6 months and $1,000 in fines. Even worse is being charged with a DWI and an endangering the welfare of a child charge, which may result in jail or prison time, probation, and a criminal record.
DWI in a school zone: A conviction for a DWI arrest that occurred within 1,000 feet of a school carries double the penalties. For instance, if you were convicted of your first DWI in New Jersey, your license will be suspended for 6 months, but if that DWI occurred in a school zone you could lose your license for a year.
In other states, some of the situations discussed above could lead to aggravated or felony DWI/DUI charges, but in New Jersey, a DWI generally only becomes a felony charge if you also caused an accident that involves injury or death. The severity of the charge and the potential penalties, which can range up to second degree charges carrying up to ten years on prison, depending on the severity of the injury and whether the offense occurred in a school zone. If the accident results in bodily injury or death, the charges can result in manslaughter charges.
As a DWI and criminal defense attorney, I understand the legal, personal and financial consequences my DWI clients in New Jersey face. I can’t guarantee you results, but I can guarantee that I will work very hard on your defense and will stand up for your rights. You can count on me to be dedicated to your case and be there to answer your questions.