Division of Highway Traffic Safety

Division of Highway Traffic Safety Impaired Driving

Division of Highway Traffic Safety Impaired Driving

Intro

In New Jersey, a person is guilty of drunk driving if he/she operates a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in your blood. Although the law refers to a 0.08 percent BAC, you can be convicted of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor even when your BAC is below 0.08 percent. Consuming even small amounts of alcohol dulls the senses, decreases reaction time, and hampers judgement, vision and alertness. If you consume any amount of alcohol and your driving is negatively impacted, you can be convicted of drunk driving.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Additional Alcohol-Related Information & Resources

Parents and Guardians

A parent or guardian who is convicted of driving while intoxicated and had a passenger in the motor vehicle 17 years of age or younger, is also guilty of a disorderly persons offense. In addition, a person forfeits the right to operate a motor vehicle for a maximum of six months and must perform community service for up to five days.

The Penalties

The Penalties

1st Offense

Under New Jersey Law (P.L. 2003, CHAPTER 314), if an offender’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, but less than 0.10 percent, or if an offender permits another person with a BAC over 0.08 percent, but less than 0.10 percent to operate a motor vehicle, the penalties are:

  • A fine of $250-$400*
  • Imprisonment for up to 30 days*
  • 3 months license suspension*
  • A minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • An automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.

If the offenders’s BAC is 0.10 percent or higher, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or permits another person with a BAC of 0.10 percent to operate a motor vehicle, the penalties are:

  • A fine of $300-$500*
  • Imprisonment for up to 30 days*
  • A license suspension between 7 months and 1 year*
  • A minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • An automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years

Offenders with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher must install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they principally operate during the license suspension period and for a period of 6 months to 1 year after license restoration.

2nd Offense
  • A fine of $500-$1,000*
  • Imprisonment of at least 48 consecutive hours, and up to 90 days*
  • 2-year license suspension*
  • 48 consecutive hours detainment in a regional Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
  • 30 days of community service
  • An automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of 1 year to 3 years after license restoration.

 

3rd Offense
  • A fine of $1,000*
  • Imprisonment of 180 days*
  • 10-year license suspension*
  • Detainment in an in-patient alcoholism treatment program
  • 30 days of community service
  • A fee to be paid to the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center dependent upon court sentence
  • An automobile insurance surcharge of $1500 a year for 3 years
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of 1 year to 3 years after license restoration.
Any Offense Also Carries
  • $100 surcharge to be deposited in the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
  • A Motor Vehicle Commission restoration fee of $100 and an Intoxicated Driving Program fee of $100
  • A Violent Crimes Compensation Fund fee of $50
  • A Safe and Secure Community Program fee of $75
Registration Revocation/Ignition Interlock

In addition to these penalties, judges may order the revocation of the vehicle registration (Public Law 2000, Chapter 83).

The ignition interlock device, which measures the driver’s blood alcohol level, may be required for up to three years following license restoration after a DWI conviction. Any person may start a motor vehicle equipped with an interlock device for safety reasons or to repair the device or motor vehicle, but the convicted offender may not operate the vehicle.

A person who, on behalf of the convicted offender, blows into an interlock device to start a motor vehicle or tampers with the device to circumvent its operation may be charged with a disorderly persons offense.

MVC Restoration/Interlock Page

Consequences of Underage Drinking and Driving

In New Jersey, you must be at least 21 years of age to purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages. Underage drinking is illegal and can have severe consequences for young people who drink and for adults who provide alcoholic beverages to those under 21.

If you are under 21 and buy or drink alcohol in a place with an alcohol beverage license, you may be fined $500 and lose your driver license for 6 months. If you do not have your driver license, the suspension starts when you are first eligible to receive a license. Also you may be required to participate in an alcohol education or treatment program.

If you are under 21, drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system (.01 BAC or above), and are convicted for violating New Jersey’s zero tolerance law, the penalties are:

  • Loss or postponement of driving privileges for 30 to 90 days
  • 15 to 30 days of community service
  • Participation in an alcohol and traffic safety education program
Driving with a Suspended License Due to Driving While Intoxicated – The Penalties are:
  • A fine of $500*
  • 10 to 90 days imprisonment*
  • 1 to 2 years added license suspension*
  • If you are involved in a crash while your license is suspended and someone is hurt, you face a mandatory 45 day jail sentence
  • Revocation of motor vehicle registration*
Refusal to Submit to Breath Test – The Penalties
  • 1st offense – $300-$500 fine and a license suspension of not less than seven months or more than one year*
  • 2nd offense – $500-$1,000 fine and a 2-year license suspension*
  • 3rd offense – $1,000 fine and a 10-year license suspension*
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of 6 months to 1 year after license restoration for the 1st offense, 1 year to 3 years for the 2nd and 3rd offenses.
  • Automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years for 1st and 2nd offenses, $1,500 for 3rd offense
  • $100 surcharge to be deposited in the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
  • Referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
Possessing an Open Container in the Passenger Compartment – The Penalties
  • 1st offense – $200
  • 2nd offense – $250 fine or 10 days of community service
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