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Driving Under the Influence in New Jersey

Most of what we discuss here revolves around distracted driving, but we would be remiss if we did not discuss DUI in New Jersey. The fact is, this is a problem not only with drivers over the age of 21, but also drivers that are under the age of 21, including teen drivers.

2013 New Jersey DUI Statistics

• 147 driving fatalities (9 under the age of 21)
• 69.2% of fatalities involved a driver with a BAC of .15+
• 23,765 DUI arrests (153 involved drivers under the age of 18)
While all these numbers are under the national average, they are still unacceptable, especially when it comes to underage drinking and driving. It is important for teens to understand the penalties they will face for underage drinking are far more complex than the fines and penalties listed below, but that this is something that may literally stick with them for the rest of their lives.

In New Jersey, you are considered DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is:
• Commercial Drivers – .04%
• Drivers 21 or Older – .08%
• Drivers Under 21 – .02%
Because New Jersey is an implied consent state, you must take the chemical tests if you are arrested. These are NOT the roadside tests an officer may request. You can refuse to take a roadside test without penalty, but refusing to take a chemical rest will result in a license revocation:
• First Offense – 7-month revocation
• Second Offense – 2-year revocation
• Third Offense – 10-year revocation
Unlike a suspension, when your license is revoked, you lose it altogether and must pass all driving tests again before the license will be re-issued.

Fines and Penalties for DUI in New Jersey

Monetary Fines

• First Offense – $250 to $500
• Second Offense – $500 to $1,000
• Third Offense – $1,000
In addition to these fines, all DUI arrests are also subject to an additional $500 in fines. The allocation of these funds is:
• $100 Surcharge for Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
• $100 Violent Crimes Compensation Fee
• $100 Intoxicated Driver Program Fee
• $100 State and Municipality Fee
• $100 Motor Vehicle Restoration Fee

Mandatory Jail Sentences

• First Offense – up to 30 days in jail
• Second Offense – up to 90 days in jail
• Third Offense – up to 180 days in jail

License Suspension

• First Offense – between three months and one year
• Second Offense – 2-year mandatory suspension
• Third Offense – 10-year mandatory suspension

In New Jersey, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) at any offense level. The state also has a 10-year lookback period for sentencing purposes. This means that you if you are arrested for a repeat violation outside of that window, you will only face penalties and fines as a first time offender.

*Photo Courtesy of Brad Clinesmith via Creative Commons License