NEW Jersey



NJ has some of the strictest DWI laws in the country. If you are convicted of DWI, either because of alcohol or drugs, you face serious and profound penalties, such as license loss, major fines, as well as possible community service, imprisonment as well as mandatory installation of an interlock device on your car.

Unlike other states, NJ does not consider DWI to be a criminal offense. As a result, many of the constitutional & procedural protections and safeguards afforded to criminal defendants under the Bill of Rights may not apply to you. For example, you have no right to a jury trial if you are charged with a DWI, even though the consequences of a conviction can be absolutely devastating and destroy one's livelihood.

NJ has two basic types of DWI convictions. These are"observational" DWIs, and Per Se DWIs.

An Observational DWI is the term given to those DWI cases where the State's sole evidence is based on the Defendant's performance on the Standardized Field Sobriety test. This usually happens, because the attorney has been able to suppress the breath-test results, due to some violation of police procedure or mechanical/computer malfunction. Even if the B.A.C. reading is successfully challenged, the Defense still needs to attack the police officer's administration of the field sobriety tests,  which are the (a) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, (b) Walk and Turn test, and (c) One Leg Stand test.

A "per se" DWI is the term given to those DWI cases where the Defendant violated the statute 39: 4-50, because his Blood Alcohol Content (B.A.C.) exceeded the legally defined limits.

As you can see, an attorney often has two different cases that must be simultaneously handled in each and every DWI case. He must not only fight a battle against the Field Sobriety Test, but against the breath-test results as well.

Like many other states, New Jersey has a graduated or tier-based system of increasing penalties and sentence enhancements, based on the type of DWI violation that you are charged with.

Here is a brief summary of the possible penalties and sentences you will face if convicted of a DWI in the state of NJ.

1. Observational DWI or "per se" DWI with B.A.C. of 0.10% or greater.


a. License loss between 7 months and 1 year

b. Possible Prison term up to 30 days

c. Community service & Interlock

d. 12-48 hours in the IDRC (Intoxicated Driver Resource Center)

e.  Major Fines & Surcharges

i. $300-$500 fine

ii. $230 IDRC fee

iii. $100 to AERF (Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund)

iv. $1,000/year surcharge for 3 years

v. $75 Neighborhood Services Fund

f. If your BAC is 0.15% or greater: ignition interlock device during license suspension and 6 months - 1 year following restoration


2. Alcohol or drug related Per Se DUI with B.A.C. greater than 0.08% but less than 0.10%

a. License loss no less than 3 months.

b. Possible Prison term up to 30 days

c. Community Service

d. 12-48 hours in the IDRC

e. Fines, fees & surcharges

i. $250–$400 fine
ii. $230 IDRC* fee
iii. $100 to drunk driving fund
iv. $100 to AERF*
v. $1,000/year (for 3 years) surcharge
vi. $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund


a. Second DWI Offense within 10 Years

i. 2 year license suspension

ii. No less than 48 hrs, and up to 90 days in jail

iii. 30 days Community Service

iv. Interlock----during period of license suspension and 1-3 years following suspension

v. 12-48 hours IDRC

vi. Fines & Surcharges

* $500-$1,000 fine

* $280 IDRC fee

* $100 AERF fee

* $1,000/year surcharge for 3 years


b. 3rd offense within 10 years of 2nd offense


i. 10 years license suspension

ii. 180 days jail

iii. Up to 90 days community service

iv. 12-48 hours IDRC

v. Interlock--during period of license suspension and 1-3 years following restoration

vi. Fines & Surcharges

* $1,000 fine
* $280 IDRC fee
* $100 to drunk driving fund
* $100 to AERF
* $1,500/year (for 3 years) surcharge
* $75 to Neighborhood Services Fund


a. Driving or riding with an open container

i. First Offense: $200 fine

ii. Second Offense: $250 fine and 10 days community service

b.  Driving with a DUI suspension

i. 1-2 years additional license suspension

ii. 10-90 days jail

iii. Fines/Surcharges:

* $500 fine

* $250/year surcharge for 3 years

c. Driving while possessing drugs

i.  2 years suspension

ii. Minimum $50 fines

My Law Office regularly serves the communities of Bellmawr, Runnemede, Deptford, Westville, Gloucester Township, N.J. (Blackwood, Glendora, Erial, Sicklerville, Blenheim, Lambs Terrace, Chews Landing, and Hilltop) and Washington Township, N.J. (Turnersville, Sewell, Hurffville, Grenloch, CrossKeys, Bunker Hill and Chapel Heights).

If you live in these areas, or any other area of South Jersey and have been charged with DWI or DUI, Refusal or any other alcohol or drug-related driving infraction, then contact my office immediately for a free consultation.  I treat every client with extra-special care and go over the evidence and facts of their case, in-depth, so that no stone is unturned in their legal defense.

Call us for quality, compassionate, and individualized representation: 856-873-3730

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver.