What Is The Legal Limit In New Jersey?

New Jersey imposes stringent drunk driving laws, but the rules pertaining to blood alcohol limitations vary in certain circumstances. Similarly, the penalties aren't the same in every situation, so it's important to consult with an experienced DWI lawyer if you are facing a DWI charge in New Jersey to find out which rules apply to your case. The New Jersey DWI defense attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. in Point Pleasant Beach will explain the law and the charges you're facing in detail. To understand what is considered driving under the influence in New Jersey we must first learn about Blood Alcohol Concentration.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits In Monmouth County

Police officer hold breath test device

What is the legal limit for alcohol in New Jersey? If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in New Jersey, you will be stopped on the road and arrested. In most cases, the arresting officer will first take you through a series of field sobriety tests during your traffic stop before taking you to the police station for a breath test. Those accused of drunk driving will be required to provide a breath test by blowing into a Dräger Alcotest® 7110which can measure BAC. However, there may be exceptions, for example, if you were suspected of DWI during an accident in which medical care is necessary. Your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, will be determined through the administration of a breath test or blood test while at the hospital. While it is still possible to receive a DWI charge with minimal amounts of alcohol in your system, it is important to be aware of the BAC limits under New Jersey law.

DUI For Drivers 21 and Older

The current blood alcohol concentration limit for driving while intoxicated in New Jersey is 0.08% BAC. This translates to 0.08 grams of ethanol alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in your system. If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher in New Jersey, you can be convicted of drunk driving. This standard applies to drivers who are legally allowed to drink alcohol, currently age 21 and older.

Drunk driving charges become more serious if you have a BAC of 0.10% or higher. While a first-tier DWI (BAC of 0.08%-0.09%) carries first-time penalties including up to 30 days in jail, fines of $250-$400, IDRC classes and a 3 month license suspension, the fines can increase to $300-$500 for a DWI with a BAC of 0.10% or higher, and the license suspension can range from 7 months to 1 year.

DWI For Drivers Under the Age of 21

While the 0.08% BAC limit applies to drivers over the legal drinking age, underage motorists are held to a higher BAC standard. If you are under 21 years old and you are arrested for DWI in New Jersey, a BAC result showing any trace of alcohol consumption in your system will subject you to a charge of underage DWI. The penalties differ for underage drinkers charged with DWI depending on the BAC level detected.

Drivers under the age of 21 caught driving with a BAC of 0.01%-0.07%, will face penalties of 30-90 days license suspension and 15-30 days of mandatory community service, participation in an IDRC class and highway safety program. If the person is under 17 at the time of sentencing, will have their license suspension imposed after their 17th birthday.Those under the age of 21 who have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more will be subject to the standard DWI penalties for adult drivers as outlined above. In New Jersey, those under the age of 21 who possess alcohol will face the loss of driving privileges for six  months upon a conviction or plea of guilty.

Commercial (CDL) Licensed Drivers And Drunk Driving

Commercial drivers licenses (CDL) holders are also subject to a different BAC limit in some circumstances. CDL drivers who have a 0.04% BAC or higher and are driving a commercial vehicle at the time of their stop, they will be charged with a drinking and driving. If a CDL licensed driver is operating a passenger vehicle at the time of the stop, will face the ordinary limits of 0.08%. A DWI conviction will result in a suspension of their CDL license in addition to their basic New Jersey driver's license.

BAC Under The Limit Can Still Result In DWI In Ocean County

It is important to address a common misconception. A BAC of less than 0.08% does not mean you will always avoid a DWI charge. Police can decide you are intoxicated based on the totality of the circumstances, including your performance in the field sobriety tests, your speech, other behavior and your driving conduct. If you have any amount of alcohol in your system and it can be shown that the alcohol influenced your driving abilities, you can still be charged with a DWI.

Resources Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

Challenging A Breath Test Refusal In New Jersey 
Questioning Your DWI Breath Test in New Jersey
Dräger Alcotest® Trained Former Municipal Prosecutor
DWI Breath Testing In New Jersey


If you're facing drunk driving charges in Monmouth County or Ocean County, New Jersey, you'll need help understanding the law and building your defense. Contact the attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. today at 732-965-3999 to obtain the representation you need to assert your rights. The DWI lawyers at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. offer FREE initial consultations on NJ Breath Test Limits.

Act Now Before It's Too Late!

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Mistakes happen all the time. If a mistake was made by the police or the New Jersey prosecution it should not hurt you and your family. Our experienced NJ DWI Defense Lawyers at Villani & DeLuca regularly protect the legal rights of people who have been charged with DWI / DUI or breath test refusal. This traffic offense carries the possible of jail time and costly fines in New Jersey. The stakes are too high and can last for years. A strong legal defense can often convince the courts to have your drunk driving charges dismissed or reduced. Don't risk your future by defending yourself against a DUI! Contact Villani & Deluca today for a FREE case evaluation on all your pending drunk driving charges.

This website is designed for information purposes only and should not be construed as formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney/client relationship.

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