In New Jersey, the possible sentence for a first-time DUI offense is relatively light, if expensive. The judge will suspend your driver’s license for three months, fine you $250-400 and require you to attend an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) for 12-48 hours. Technically, a jail sentence is also possible but unlikely in a case with no aggravating factors.
Aggravated DWI is a different story. If convicted, you could face much steeper penalties, including jail time.
State law lays out several factors that can change a standard DWI charge to an aggravated one. These include:
- Having a blood-alcohol concentration of above 0.10 percent (the standard BAC limit is .08 percent)
- Having a minor in the vehicle
- Committing traffic offenses, such as reckless driving
- A previous DUI conviction
- Causing a car accident, especially if someone was killed
- Declining to submit to a breath test
A second DUI conviction increases the length of time the court suspends your license from three months to two years. Once you get your license back, you may be required to pay to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
Whether or not you have a prior record, an aggravated DWI conviction increases your potential fine to up to $500. The chances that the judge will give you jail time go up, too.
Any time you are arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving, you need to take the charges seriously and know your legal options for resolving the matter. But this is especially true if you already have a DUI on your record.