It doesn’t matter whether you’re arrested in Morristown, Mahwah, Medford or Millstone. No matter where you are arrested for drunk driving in New Jersey, the penalties for a DWI are exactly the same: painful.

You can be found guilty of drunk driving in New Jersey if your BAC (blood-alcohol content) is measured at .08 percent or above. However, it should be noted that even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you can still be arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol – if your driving has been negatively impacted by the alcohol you consumed.

Now let’s take a look at the potential penalties that you face after a DWI arrest.

First offense

If your BAC is .08 percent or higher, but less than .10 percent, you face the following for a first DWI conviction:

  • Jail: for up to 30 days
  • Fines: $250 to $400
  • Ignition interlock: a minimum of three months
  • Driver’s license forfeiture: until ignition interlock is installed
  • Six hours per day for two consecutive days: attendance at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • Insurance: an auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years

If your BAC is from .10 percent but less than .15 percent, the amount of time you must have the ignition interlock device in your vehicle increases to a minimum of seven months and a maximum of a year.

A first offense DWI with a BAC of more than .15 percent means that you must have the ignition interlock in your vehicle for four to six months and then from nine to 15 months after your driver’s license is restored.

Second offense

Unsurprisingly, the penalties for a second drunk driving conviction are even harsher:

  • Jail: a minimum of 48 consecutive hours up to a maximum of 90 days behind bars
  • Fines: $500 to $1,000
  • Ignition interlock: Two to four years after the restoration of your driver’s license
  • Driver’s license suspension: minimum of one year and a maximum of up to two years
  • Community service: 30 days
  • Insurance: an auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years

A third DWI offense (also known as a DUI offense) can mean still harsher penalties, including up to 180 days in jail, suspension of your driver’s license for up to eight years and an auto insurance surcharge of $1,500.

On its website, New Jersey’s Department of Law and Public Safety says the requirements for an ignition interlock device remain the same for a third offense as for a second offense.

The numbers make it plain: no matter where in New Jersey that you’re arrested, you face some extremely harsh potential penalties if you are convicted of drunk driving.