Consequences of a DUI or DWI Conviction in New Jersey

Driver’s License suspension.

A DUI or DWI conviction in New Jersey always results in a suspension of your driver’s license. Suspensions range from three (3) months to ten (10) years depending on the offense. New Jersey does not allow for a conditional driver’s license.

Fines.

Fines associated with a DUI or DWI conviction vary depending on whether it is a first offense or repeated offense.

First offense in court fines total approximately $650-800; second offense, in court fines approach $1,000.00; and third offense, in court fines, are over $1,300.00.

Surcharges:

In addition to the in-court fines, you must pay a $3,000.00 surcharge for first and second offenses, and a $4,500.00 surcharge for third or subsequent offenses.

Community service:

Consequences for DUI or DWI convictions also include community service. Community service on second offenses of up to 180 hours.

Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center (IDRC):

Drunk driving convictions in New Jersey also require mandatory counseling or alcohol treatment through the Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center (IDRC). The IDRC can also compel you to do more counseling than that which the court sentenced you to, including an additional 16 week program of classes. You are required to cover the costs of all IRDC classes as well, which adds to the financial consequences of a drunk driving conviction.

Ignition Interlock Device:

Certain DUI convictions require an installation of an ignition interlock device.  The device is installed on the steering column of your motor vehicle and requires the driver to blow into the device prior to the vehicle starting. The machine will not allow the car to start of the driver’s blood alcohol level is above a certain level.  The device must be installed by a licensed retailer and requires a monthly fee of approximately $75.00-$125.00 per month.

Enhanced Penalties:

DUI consequences also include potential jail time, even for first offenders. First offenders may be forced to serve up to thirty (30) days in jail. Second offenders face forty eight (48) hours to ninety (90) days in jail. Third offenders face mandatory jail of 180 days (90 of which can be served in an in-patient facility).

Potential Jail Time:

Even first offenders face exposure of up to thirty (30) days in jail. Second offenders face forty eight (48) hours to ninety (90) days in jail. Third offenders face mandatory jail of 180 days (90 of which can be served in an in-patient facility).

Permanent Driving History:

DUI offenses are not eligible for expungement from your record.

Insurance Consequences:

Following a DUI or DWI conviction, your auto insurance rates will increase. You will be assessed insurance eligibility points. You will be subject to surcharges and other penalties by your insurance company. Your motor vehicle insurance company may also elect to drop you from coverage. Outside of motor vehicle insurance, rates may become unavailable for health, life and/or disability coverage.

Credit Issues:

Many credit bureaus include DUI convictions on credit reports. This may affect your credit score or your potential to secure future credit.

Military Consequences:

Those in military service are forced to deal with an additional set of collateral consequences.  In addition to the consequences provided by the State, members of the military are subject to possible demotion or discharge from service.  They are also subject to alcohol education courses, base restriction, privilege restrictions and/or other forms of punishment.

Employment Issues:

There is no conditional driving license in New Jersey that would allow individuals convicted of DUI to drive to and from work while their license is suspended. This can significantly affect your job if you are required to use a car to get to and from work or you use your car for a work purpose. Some forms of employment may be subject to termination upon a conviction for DUI. Poor credit has the ability to effect future employment if a credit check is required prior to hiring. A DUI conviction may also appear on applications for professional licenses.