Don't Drink (Or Smoke) And Drive
Feb. 1, 2023
In New Jersey, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, hallucinogens, or other habit-producing drugs. If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the penalties can include license suspension, fines and/or jail time. The length of the license suspension, fines and jail time depend on the severity of the offense, the offender's age and prior record. Other penalties include mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, drug and alcohol education classes, and community service. Certain violations may also result in a criminal record and can remain on your record for years.
The legal limit of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for drivers in New Jersey is 0.08%. Driving under the influence in New Jersey is considered a traffic violation and not a misdemeanor or felony. Field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests are not always accurate, and drivers have the right to defend themselves in court if charged with DWI under the 0.08% BAC limit. Those with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10% or higher will be subject to even harsher penalties If you have been arrested for DUI, it is important to contact a lawyer.
Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal in New Jersey and punishable by significant fines, license suspension, and even jail time. Driving after consuming cannabis can seriously impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Even if cannabis is used for medical purposes, it is still against the law to drive while impaired by the drug. There are numerous health risks associated with driving under the influence of cannabis, including an increased risk of being involved in a car crash, as well as a decreased ability to make safe decisions while driving. In addition to the legal penalties and potential health risks, driving under the influence of marijuana is also a serious safety issue that can put everyone on the road at risk.
For first-time DWI offenders in New Jersey, the penalties may include fines between $250 and $400, court fees up to $33, an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) fee of $230, a $100 payment to the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund (DDEF) and a $100 payment to the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF). Additionally, the offender may face up to 30 days of jail time, up to 30 days of community service and 12-48 hours of IDRC classes. For second offenders, the fines may increase to between $500 and $1,000 and the jail time may range from two to 90 days. A license suspension of at least two years is also likely for a second offense. For a third offense, the court-imposed penalties and punishments may be more severe and include a 10-year license suspension and potential property lien and wage garnishment if the offender is unable to pay the surcharges.
The IDRC is a unit of the Division of Addiction Services of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. It is designed to help those convicted of an alcohol or drug-related traffic or boating offense in the state by providing education and evaluation. If sentenced as a first offender, one must attend a six-hour session on two consecutive days, totaling 12 hours. Second offenders must attend 48 consecutive hours in a regional facility, while third offenders may be sentenced to jail or inpatient treatment. After being detained and evaluated, one may be referred to a treatment program or self-help group for alcohol or drug problems. Participants must complete the program, pay the fees and meet the treatment requirements of Intoxicated Driving Program (IDP)/IDRC before their license is restored. Failure to comply with the requirements set by the IDRC may result in extended license suspensions or jail time.