Being convicted of drunk driving in New Jersey has serious consequences and can cost you more than you may realize. Before deciding not to get an attorney and go it alone, you should consider the price of doing so, and that it includes things beyond what a judge may order you to pay.
Court-Ordered DUI Fines & Costs
When you plead guilty or are found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence on the spot. He or she will list several items and their amounts. Be mindful of these, but also be aware that it doesn't end there!
First, there are the fines, which vary depending on whether this is your first, second, or third/subsequent conviction. They are:
- First Conviction: $250 to $500, depending on your blood alcohol level
- Second Conviction: $500 to $1,000
- Third or Subsequent Conviction: $1,000.
In addition, DUIs that occur within a school zone or while you're driving with a suspended license come with even higher fines and other penalties.
Then there are the "extras" that the judge tacks on. New Jersey law requires that you participate in a program for alcohol education called the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), more commonly referred to as "drunk driving school." The fees for this start at $230 per day! On top of that, you must 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.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Costs
Under New Jersey law, you are required to install an ignition interlock device on a car you own, lease, or drive (unless you don't own, lease, or drive) for a certain number of months. Unfortunately, there are fees for this! These include:
- Installation fees from $50 to $200
- Monthly rental fees range from $50 to $100 (usually around $100)
- Maintenance and data download fees 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.
The cost of a conviction for DUI in New Jersey goes way beyond what the court will order you to pay. Many people that plead guilty or are found guilty leave the courtroom thinking that what the judge sets out is all that they will have to pay. Not true, and they are always in for an unpleasant surprise!
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, upon being informed of your conviction, will then levy surcharges. These are quite expensive and increase based on the number of convictions.
- First or Second DWI Conviction: $1,000 per year for three years.
- Third or Subsequent Conviction: $1,500 a year for three years
Also, speaking of insurance, if you think your auto insurance premiums won't go up, think again! A DUI conviction can significantly increase New Jersey's already sky high insurance rates!
Job Loss Due to Jail Time or License Suspension
If your license is suspended, and you can't find other transportation, do you think you will be able to keep your job? Depending on how many convictions you have had, the suspension can be as long as 8 years! Even if you are able to join a carpool, take public transportation, or have your spouse drive you, you can't go to work if you're in jail! 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.
Oh, and speaking of license suspension, it will cost you $100 to get your license restored at the end!
A DUI can also cost you money even before you go to court! After the police arrest you, a tow company is contacted by the police department to retrieve your car from the side of the road. You will then 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.
New Jersey DUIs Cost Too Much Not to Get a Lawyer!
When you add up all of the costs involved, you will find out that DUI convictions are very expensive. Lawyers for cases such as these are expensive (and they should be), but not nearly as expensive as what you are facing! Therefore hiring an experienced attorney can help your chances of minimizing the costs of being found guilty.
If you have been charged with drunk driving in southern New Jersey, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule a free consultation. 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.
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