Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in New Jersey. A first-time conviction is enough to cause serious legal troubles in your life. A second conviction is even worse. Fortunately, you are innocent of these accusations until proven guilty, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can work to have the charges against you reduced or even dropped altogether. The DWI defense lawyers at Keith Oliver Criminal Law are here to build the strongest possible defense on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule your free, confidential consultation.
New Jersey DWI Laws
In New Jersey, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. However, a BAC below 0.08 can still result in a DWI conviction. If any amount of alcohol impairs your ability to drive your vehicle safely, law enforcement can arrest you for drunk driving.
What Are the Differences Between a First and Second DWI?
The key difference between a first and second DWI offense in New Jersey is the severity of the associated penalties. For a first-time conviction, penalties are based on your blood alcohol concentration:
- If your BAC was 0.08 or higher but less than 0.10, penalties include a $250 to $400 fine, imprisonment for up to 30 days, an insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years, and two consecutive six-hour days at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. Your driver’s license will also be suspended until you install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle, which must remain in place for three months.
- If your BAC was 0.10 or higher but less than 0.15, the fine increases to $300 to $500, and you must keep an IID in your vehicle for seven months to a year.
- If your BAC was 0.15 or higher, you must install an IID in your vehicle for a four to six-month license suspension, then keep it for another nine to 15 months after reinstating your license.
By contrast, your BAC usually won’t affect the penalties for a second DWI. Second-time DWI convictions carry increased fines, guaranteed imprisonment, and longer license suspensions. Also, if you are convicted of a second DWI, you must perform mandatory community service and fulfill additional requirements at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
Penalties for first and second-time offenses also include a $100 surcharge that goes to the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund, an Intoxicated Driving Program fee of $100, a $50 payment to the Violent Crimes Compensation Fund, a Safe and Secure Community Program fee of $75, and a Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee of $100.
What Are the Penalties for a Second DWI Conviction in New Jersey?
If you are convicted of a second DWI in New Jersey, you could be subject to the following penalties:
- $500 to $1,000 fine
- 48 hours to 90 days of jail time
- License suspension for at least one year with the possibility of up to two years
- 30 days of community service
- A $1,000 insurance surcharge that lasts three years
- Mandatory evaluation, referral, and program at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle during your license suspension and for two to four years after reinstatement
How Long Could You Lose Your License After a Second DWI in New Jersey?
If you are convicted of a second DWI in New Jersey, your license could be suspended for at least one year and as long as two years. A DWI lawyer can protect your rights and work to reduce or eliminate the penalties for your case.
What Are the Costs of a Second DWI in New Jersey?
Not only does a second DWI conviction mean prison time and license suspension, but it also carries increased financial costs, including a:
- Fine of $500 to $1,000
- $1,000 auto insurance surcharge lasting three years
- $100 surcharge for the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
- $100 fee for the Intoxicated Driving Program
- $50 payment to the Violent Crimes Compensation Fund
- $75 payment to the Safe and Secure Community Program
- $100 restoration fee to the Motor Vehicle Commission
All told, a second-time DWI conviction could cost you between $3,925 and $4,425. The best way to limit the personal and financial consequences of a second DWI charge is to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
What Are the Defense Options for a Second DWI Charge in New Jersey?
A New Jersey DWI defense lawyer should be your first call after any arrest. Your lawyer can build a strong case on your behalf and argue aggressively for a favorable outcome, potentially including a reduction or outright dismissal of the charges against you. They can also help you determine whether post-conviction relief is an option to reduce your penalties.
If you qualify for post-conviction relief, your lawyer could have your first DWI conviction vacated and dismissed. Your second DWI could be charged as a first-time offense in that case. A DWI defense lawyer can review your record to determine whether post-conviction relief is available.
How Can a DWI Lawyer Help You?
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we understand that being arrested for DWI after a previous conviction can be a frightening experience. We want you to know that you don’t have to face it alone. Our team of criminal defense attorneys is here to stand up for your rights and guide you through the legal process. We can investigate the circumstances of your arrest, review police reports, and assess prior DWI convictions. We can then develop a robust legal defense and seek the best possible outcome on your behalf.
Contact the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Keith Oliver Criminal Law
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we have a proven track record of getting our clients’ charges reduced and cases dismissed. When you work with us, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. Contact us today to learn how we can help in a free, confidential case review.