New Jersey takes intoxicated driving charges very seriously.
“If you drive impaired, law enforcement will arrest you,” states the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety.
In recent years, many counties, cities, and towns across the state have been increasing highway enforcement. Even a first time DUI offense could result in a defendant facing harsh consequences. This raises an important question: What is the punishment for a first-time drunk driving violation in New Jersey?
In this article, our New Jersey DUI defense lawyer provides an overview of the penalties for a first offense in the state.
DUI First Offense NJ — An Overview of the Penalties
Under New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50), it is unlawful to drive while impaired. A key factor that determines the penalties for a DUI is whether the driver has a history of drunk driving offenses. Generally, first time DUI offenses are punished less than later offenses.
A first time DUI is still a serious issue. The penalties for a first offense DUI in New Jersey may include the following:
- Up to $1,000 in financial penalties;
- Increased auto insurance costs;
- A three-month suspension of your driver’s license;
- Mandatory DUI classes;
- Mandatory installation of an interlock ignition device on your car; and
- Up to 30 days in jail.
Aggravating Factors May Result in More Penalties
In New Jersey, a defendant facing a first-time drunk driving charge could receive more penalties if their case has an ‘aggravating factor’. An aggravating factor makes a drunk driving offense especially extreme in the eyes of the law.
There are several different types of aggravating factors listed in the New Jersey state statutes. Some of the most common examples are:
- Being ‘highly intoxicated’ — meaning a BAC level of 0.15 or higher;
- Having a child in the car or getting a DUI while in a school zone;
- Committing another traffic violation at the same time, such as speeding or reckless driving; and
- Causing an accident that leads to a serious injury or fatality.
Depending on the nature of the aggravating factor, the penalties can vary. If you or your loved one was arrested for a first time DUI offense with an aggravating factor, contact a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer immediately. Prosecutors seek severe penalties in these cases — possibly including jail time.
How Our New Jersey Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Can Help
It is a huge mistake to view a first time DUI as a minor offense.
A conviction will cost you money, time, driving privileges, and even career opportunities. Do not plead guilty without speaking to a criminal defense lawyer first. There may be options to avoid severe penalties.
Anthony J. Vecchio is an experienced DUI defense attorney with lots of experience handling first-time offenses. He helps clients through their most difficult days. Mr. Vecchio will:
- Review of your case;
- Explain your rights and options to you;
- Make sure that the arresting officer respected your rights;
- Look for all available options to reduce penalties; and
- Build a strong, compelling DUI defense.
Every intoxicated driving case is different. If you are facing a first time DUI in New Jersey, you need a lawyer who understands your case and will build a personalized defense strategy. In some cases, false or unfair DUI charges must be challenged in court. In other cases, the best strategy is to focus on reducing the penalties of a first time DUI.
One mistake should not follow you for the rest of your life.
Were You Arrested for a First Time Drunk Driving Offense in New Jersey?
We are here to help.
At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, our New Jersey criminal defense lawyer has lots of experience with handling first time drunk driving cases. To set up a confidential review of your case, please call our legal team right away.
We handle intoxicated driving cases throughout the state of New Jersey.