The cost of a DWI in New Jersey goes further than what is paid to the court. Those charged with a DWI, or driving under the influence, in New Jersey will be subjected to a variety of statewide penalties. The penalties associated with these charge will vary based on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Those with prior DUI convictions or those facing charges for additional traffic offenses will be subject to additional penalties. To see a full list of court imposed fines and penalties click on this link.
Installing An Ignition Interlock Device
If you have had more than one DUI conviction, or if you refused a breath test, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car. The interlock device serves as a Breathalyzer in your car. It will then prevent your car from starting if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.05% or higher. If you are ordered to have this device installed in your car and you do not follow the order, your license will then be suspended for an additional year. You cannot remove the device or tamper with it after it is installed. The requirement to have this equipment installed could be for as little as six months or as long as three years. The Motor Vehicle Commission will explain how to obtain this device and where you can get it installed. Depending on your sentence, it may be required that you have it installed on your car at the start of your license suspension, even though you are not permitted to drive. There are installation and monthly fees involved with the interlock device that you will also be required to pay. For more information please visit the State Of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website.
Motor Vehicle Points Associated With A DUI
New Jersey does not have a specific amount of points that are applied to a DUI charge. If you are convicted of a DUI, you will automatically lose your driver's license. If there are related charges to your DUI conviction, those related charges may have points associated with them. Here are some common related charges that carry license points in New Jersey:
- Speeding 30 mph or more over the limit – 5 points on your license (N.J.S.A. 39:4-99)
- Reckless driving – 5 points on your license (N.J.S.A. 39:4-96)
- Careless driving – 2 points on your license (N.J.S.A. 39:4-97)
- Failure to observe traffic lanes or signs – 2 points on your license (N.J.S.A. 39:4-88)
- Failure to observe traffic signals – 2 points on your license (N.J.S.A. 39:4-81)
The number of points applied at a specific individual's conviction will be determined based on the circumstances surrounding their charges. The specific offense that prompted the attending officer to pull over the motor vehicle, the number of driving offenses on the defendant's record and the nature of the driving offenses on the defendant's record will all be considered. If the points applied to one's driving record result in a total of 12 or more points, his or her driver's license can be revoked for a period of 30 days. Points applied to your driving record will be deducted at a rate of three points for every year that passes violation free.
Intoxicated Driver Program (IDP)
Anyone convicted of a DWI/DUI in New Jersey must participate in an Intoxicated Driving Resource Center Program. As a mandatory part of this program, you will be required to take an Alcohol and Highway Safety classes, and have an evaluation for alcohol or drug treatment. It's the job of the IDRC monitors to report back to the court and motor vehicles with their recommendations on your driving privileges. There is a fee of $230 associated with this program and failure to comply with the IDP can result in jail time and additional loss of your driver's licenses. See the NJ Motor Vehicle Commissions website for a list of centers.
Insurance companies have a similar point system as the MVC and will use this information to determine your risk level of being insured. Upon being convicted of DUI, your automotive insurance rates will be increase. Add in convictions for other related traffic violations and the cost can skyrocket and in some cases your insurance company might even drop you. The NJ Motor Vehicle Commission will also impose an insurance surcharge of a $1000 a year for three years after your first and second DWI conviction and a $1500 surcharge for three years for any sequential convictions of three or more.
Penalties For Driving With A Suspended License
If a person is driving with a suspended license (N.J.S.A. 39:3-40) —even if they have not been previously found guilty of DWI—he or she is facing a fine of $500. A second offense of driving with a suspended license will result in a fine of $750. A third or more offense will be a fine at a rate of $1,000.The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will also add what is known as a special assessment fee for the three years following the conviction of driving with a suspended license. This costs $250 per year. If there is a conviction for a second offense and beyond and this occurs within five years of the conviction for the prior offense, the individual's registration privileges will be revoked. The suspension of the driver's license can also be extended by six months. For a first offense of driving with a suspended license, there is no jail time. For a second conviction, there is a required jail time of between one and five days. A third conviction requires jail time for ten days.
Being Arrested For A DWI While Having A Suspended License - N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(2)
Bear in mind that the prior section relates to driving with a suspended driver's license for reasons other than a DWI conviction. If arrested and charged with the traffic offense of driving with a suspended license and the license was suspended due to DWI, the penalties listed above are in effect as well as other penalties on top of them. All fine will be raised by $500. The extension of the driver's license suspension must be for at least one year and can be for up to two years. The judge is required to sentence the individual to jail for at least 10 days, but as many as 90 days. The driver will also have the privileges to register his or her vehicle suspended.
The penalties are even more severe when the offense of driving while suspended for a DWI occurs within a school zone. For driving with a suspended license due to DWI in a school zone, the license will be suspended for at least another year and as many as two years. The individual will be jailed for between 60 and 90 days for a first offense. If it is a second offense, jail time increases to between 120 and 150 days. For a third offense and beyond, the jail time is 180 days. The fine will also be raised by $500.
If the suspension was for DWI and the driver is convicted a second time for driving while suspended, it is an indictable offense (felony) in the state of New Jersey and the judge is mandated to sentence the defendant to jail. It will be for a minimum of 180 days, but can be as much as a year-and-a-half. There is also a fine of up to $10,000.
Penalties For DWI In A School Zone - N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(g)
A DWI in a school zone infraction is defined as having occurred within 1,000 feet of a property that is utilized for school purposes. The property must be leased or owned by a New Jersey school board, elementary school or secondary school. If the municipality has deemed the area as a school crossing or if it is a location in which juveniles are crossing and present—even if it is not a designated area for the school—it is considered a school zone and the DWI will fall under its parameters with the mandatory punishments in the event of a conviction. Penalties for driving in a school zone range from $500 – $2000 with an annual surcharge of up to $2000 a year for three years. It also includes a loss of driving privileges for up to 20 years. To see a full list of court imposed Fines and Penalties click on this link.
DWI With A Minor Passenger
Any parent or guardian charged with DWI while a child is a passenger in the vehicle may be also charged with DWI with a minor passenger under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15(c), which is a disorderly person's offense in New Jersey. Disorderly person's offenses are punishable by fines of up to $1,000.00, community service and up to six months of jail time. These penalties will be applied in addition to any loss of driving privileges and other sentencing issued upon the related drunk driving conviction.
Police may also charge those driving under the influence with a minor passenger in the vehicle with the criminal charge of endangering the welfare of a child under N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a). Endangering a child is defined as any act that could cause the minor harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child. Depending on the level of harm determined by the court, one facing this charge can be convicted of a crime of the second or third degree.
Penalties for those convicted of endangering the welfare of a child are much more severe than the DWI with a minor passenger offense described above. In addition to the potential DWI sentencing, someone found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child may face as much as ten years in prison and $150,000 in fines.
New Jersey Driver's License Reinstatement
If you have had your license revoked due to a DUI conviction in New Jersey, you first must serve your suspension or jail time, if any was handed down by a NJ court, and then you must complete any court mandated community service hours. You must also have successfully completed your mandatory classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. All fines associated with the DUI must be paid in full. If you fail to comply with any of the required steps, the NJ courts can extend your license suspension.
Once your license suspension period is up, you will be required to pay a $100 restoration fee, payable to the Motor Vehicle Commission. This may be paid through any MVC center around New Jersey, or by remitting payment by check or money order to the following address:
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 140
Trenton, NJ 08650-0140
If you paid the $100 restoration fee by mail, you will receive your Notice of Restoration from the MVC by mail at home. To receive your Notice sooner, you should pay your fees in person at one of New Jersey's MVC offices. Much like renewing outdated licenses, you'll head to your local MVC, with your Notice of Restoration in hand, and present six points worth of identification to receive your license once again.
Find The Help You Need For Your New Jersey DUI
In the state of New Jersey, you can be issued a DUI if you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is against the law to drive or to operate a car, bus, truck, boat or any other motorized vehicle while over legal alcohol limits or while under the influence of narcotics. As a consequence of a DUI, you will lose your driver's license for a period of time. Once that time is up, there is a process you must follow to get your license reinstated in New Jersey.