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New Jersey DUI Laws and Penalties

New Jersey DUI Laws and Penalties

Driving under the influence in New Jersey is legally defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle or a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Blood alcohol concentration can be determined by a Breathalyzer test.

A DUI conviction carries certain automatic penalties. A first time conviction where the BAC is between .08 percent and .10 percent will result in the loss of the driver's license for three months, fines and fees totaling over $1000, possible jail time up to 30 days and community service. If the BAC is .10 percent or greater, the penalties are increased with a loss of license for a minimum of 7 months, higher fines and mandatory ignition interlock device. Repeat DUI convictions carry stiffer penalties. On a second offense within 10 years of the first offense, jail time is automatic for a minimum of 48 hours, and the license suspension is for two years. A third offense within 10 years of the second offense carries a sentence of 180 days of jail time and a 10-year license suspension. Fines also increase with repeat convictions.

It is also against New Jersey law to drive or ride in a vehicle with an open alcohol container. Penalties include fines and community service. Driving with a suspended license will add time to the suspension and result in additional fines and prison time. Driving while in possession of drugs carries a penalty of license suspension for two years and a minimum $50 fine.

A DUI charge is not proof of guilt. Someone who is charged with DUI can fight the charges in court. Breathalyzer test results can be challenged. Police officers must follow certain procedures when making a DUI stop and administering roadside sobriety tests, and any mistake on the part of a police officer could be used in a defense against the charge.

Source: State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, "DUI: Driving Under the Influence", accessed on Feb. 2, 2015

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