Understanding DWI vs. DUI in NJ

Every state has slightly different drunk driving laws, each using variations of terminology to describe the act of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As you may already know, DWI is the abbreviation for “driving while intoxicated” and DUI stands for “driving under the influence”. In New Jersey, there is no difference between a DWI and DUI, so the two terms can be used interchangeably without error. Prosecution and sentencing for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol both fall under the same set of statutes, the primary applicable one being N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 (Driving While Intoxicated). DWI and DUI convictions involve the same consequences, including detainment, surcharges, license suspension, fees and program requirements.

DWI/DUI Penalties And Requirements

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A DUI/DWI can carry penalties if the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.01% and above for individuals under the legal drinking age of twenty-one, whereas it is illegal for those twenty-one and older to have a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

If a driver consumes any quantity of alcohol, prescription drugs, over the counter medication or illegal drugs their can still be an impairment in their ability to operate a motorized vehicle and can cause an arrest for DWI. It is not necessary to have a BAC test to be found guilty of DWI charges.  

For the specific penalties for different levels of DWI offenses in New Jersey, see them outlined on the following pages:

DWI/DUI Related Charges

There are additional charges closely related to DWI/DUI and they are often written at the same time. Some of these include: driving with a suspended license; refusal to submit a breathalyzer test; reckless driving; possessing an open container of alcohol; drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The fines and penalties for those charges vary depending on the facts surrounding the arrest. If you are charged with something in addition to DWI/DUI at the time of your arrest, it is important that you consult with a DWI attorney for help in understanding your rights.

The DWI defense lawyers of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. located in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, have many years of experience defending clients facing DWI/DUI charges. Call the office today at 732-372-0820 for your FREE DWI consultation!