Penalties for drunk driving in New Jersey increase with each offense, so it gets worse every time you are convicted. This is shown clearly in the sentencing guidelines for a second offense.
This is because unlike a first offense, the penalties do not depend upon your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the stop, as determined by a breathalyzer. It is the same for any reading of 0.08% or higher, or a finding of impairment other than by breathalyzer.
You essentially face the following:
- A fine of between $500 and $1,000
- $364 in various additional small fines and penalties
- Thirty days community service
- Two to 90 days in jail
- Two year driver's license suspension
- Either $1,000 or $1,500 in DMV surcharges per year for three years
- A one to three year installation of ignition interlock device
Jail time is mandatory for a second offense. However, this need not be served in county jail. It can be served in an in-patient rehabilitation center or in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC). The latter tends to be the option in most cases.
Can You Get More Than 2 Days in Jail?
The jail term can be longer than 2 days, depending on the facts of each case. Most judges consider the following factors in deciding whether to extend the period of incarceration:
- Was there an accident that involved personal injury or substantial property damage?
- The second offense occurred not long after the first?
- The BAC reading was extremely high and you engaged in extremely reckless driving conduct
- You were aggressive with the police officer and a charge of disorderly conduct was filed
- Any victims make statements requesting harsh punishment
A drunk driving conviction can have additional devastating effects on your life, including the potential loss of your job. This is because New Jersey, unlike some other states, does not allow a "to and from work" driver's license. You cannot drive at all!
So What Should I Do?
Considering what you face, if you have been charged with drunk driving, you need to consult with a lawyer. If you received the ticket in southern New Jersey, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.
If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's drunk driving law, then download my free book, How Much Trouble Am I In? A Guide to New Jersey Drunk Driving Law.