Firm Articles

How Much Money Will A DWI Conviction Cost Me In New Jersey?

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Feb 04, 2016

gavel on money

The costs for DWI and refusal convictions are very expensive in New Jersey. One DWI or refusal violation will cost a driver more than $3,000 for the first offense. The second and third offenses will cost thousands more. Many people are not aware of the different financial obligations associated with DWI convictions. For those individuals who were arrested for a DWI violation can fight to save on some of the costs by hiring professional legal representation.

Towing Costs

While a driver is being processed after an arrest for DWI or refusal, a tow company is contacted by the police department to retrieve the automobile from the scene of the traffic stop. The driver will have to pay approximately $100 to $200 to pick up the vehicle the following day. Each day thereafter the car remains on the towing company's property, storage fees are added to the towing fee.


All DWI offenses have associated fines for first, second, third and subsequent convictions. If a driver receives a DWI for the first time, the fines can range from $250 up to $500, depending on the driver's BAC level. A second DWI conviction can cost $500 to $1,000 in fines and a third or subsequent offense comes with an automatic fine of $1,000. DWI fines are assessed according to the type of offense and blood alcohol levels. DWI's that occur within a school zone or while the defendant is driving with a suspended license come with even higher fines and other penalties.


In addition to the court imposed fines and penalties, anyone convicted of DWI or refusal is subject to surcharges. As with other penalties, the surcharges increase based on the number of DWI convictions one has. For a first or second DWI conviction, the insurance surcharges are $1,000 per year for three years. An insurance surcharge of $1,500 a year for three years is issued for a third DWI or refusal conviction. Other violations are subject to insurance surcharges as well. For example, driving while suspended as a result of a DWI conviction can also warrant an additional $250 insurance charge. Also, a $100 DUI enforcement surcharge must be paid to the court with the required fine upon each conviction.

Program Fees

The New Jersey DWI laws require that individuals with DWI convictions participate in a program for alcohol education called the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). The fees for the IDRC program start at $230 per day. Individuals convicted of DWI or refusal must also contribute $100 to the AERF (Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund), $100 to the Drunk Driving Fund, $75 fee to the Neighborhood Services Fund and $100 for the IDRC program fee.

Job Loss Due to Jail Time

DWI convictions can lead to jail time and certain DWI charges can lead to significant mandatory jail time. If you are sent to jail for a DWI, you can be at risk of losing your job. Even if you are not fired from your job, there is the chance that you will lose any pay while you are out of work and in jail.

Ignition Interlock Device Costs

Under New Jersey law, some drivers convicted of DWI are required to install an ignition interlock device to their car and they must pay all fees associated with this device. Installation of the ignition interlock typically ranges from $50 to $200 and the monthly rental fees range from $50 to $100 per month. There are also maintenance and data download fees that will be involved in maintaining your interlock device. You can end up paying over $1000 for each year you are required to have an ignition interlock device added to your car.

Benefits of Hiring Legal Representation for New Jersey DWI Cost

When you add up all of the costs involved, you will soon discover DWI convictions are very costly. Even if this is your first DWI conviction you can be facing thousands of dollars in losses when you add up all of the different fees, fines and surcharges. Hiring an experienced DWI attorney can help your chances of minimizing the costs you end up with if you are found guilty of DWI or refusal. Villani & DeLuca DWI defense lawyers know all about the DWI costs in New Jersey. Our lawyers are experienced and ready to help defend you against New Jersey DWI Cost. We serve Ocean County and Monmouth County, New Jersey. Call 732-965-3999 to speak with one of our DWI lawyers about the charges you face.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.