New Jersey DUI Penalties

New Jersey DUI Penalties

About one person dies every 52 minutes in the United States due to drunk driving crashes. That translates to 28 people a day and more than 10,000 lives every year. For this reason, all the states have introduced DUI penalties.

These penalties are supposed to discourage drunk driving and save more lives. Each state has different penalties hence making it difficult for people, especially visitors, to master. This article will take you through everything you need to know about DUI penalties in NJ.

What is a DUI?

DUI is the initial for driving under the influence. It is an offense in the United States to be in control or driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The drugs don’t have to be illegal. Both recreational drugs and those prescribed by physicians fall under this category. You can get charged for driving under the impairment of these drugs to a level that renders you incapable of operating a car.

DUI is also referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) in some states. Although DUI and DWI are used interchangeably, they may have different interpretations in different states.

New Jersey DUI penalties

In NJ, DUI is a serious traffic violation that can land you in jail, pay fines, or even get your license suspended or revoked. . The penalties vary depending on the age and number of times you have committed the offense. It also varies depending on what you are driving. For example, a vehicle driver will receive a different penalty compared bike rider. Let’s look at the breakdown of the DUI penalties in NJ.

Any driver that chooses to drive on public roads in NJ has surrendered the right to refuse a sobriety test. If drivers refuse, an alcotest/breathalyzer can face consequences test unlawfully. For example, the offender may face a 7-month to 1-year license revocation and 300 to 500 fines.

NJ DUI - 1st Offense

If it’s your first time committing DUI, then you will receive minimum penalties. However, the consequences may vary depending on the intoxication level. Therefore when convicted of DUI with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of below 10 or no admissible readings of BAC (Tier 1). Then you will face the following consequences.
  • License suspension until you install an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • Potential jail time of up to one month
  • Mandatory IID usage for three months
  • IRDC prevention program for up to 2 days

1st Offense Fines

If it’s your first time committing DUI, then you will receive minimum penalties. However, the consequences may vary depending on the intoxication level. Therefore when convicted of DUI with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of below 10 or no admissible readings of BAC (Tier 1). Then you will face the following consequences.

These are the fees and fines that drivers have to pay when convicted of DUI:

  • Up to $33 court fees
  • $250 – $400 fine
  • $100 Drunk driving fund
  • $230 IDRC fee
  • $75 Neighborhood Services Fund
  • $3000 surcharge to the MVC ($1000 per year)
  • $100 Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation fund

First offense Tier II: 1ST offense BAC 0.10 - 0.14

Drivers that get convicted for alcohol content from 0.10 to 0.14 face the following consequences
  • Potential jail time of up to 1 month
  • The license will be suspended until you install an ignition interlock device
  • Mandatory use of the IID during the forfeiture and up to 15 months after license restoration
  • Potential imprisonment of up to 1 month
  • You have to participate in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center prevention program for 12 – 48 hours

First Offense Tier III: BAC 0.15 or more

  • A BAC of 0.15 or more is classified as Tier III. The consequences include;
  • Potential 30-day jail time
  • License suspension for 4 to 6 months
  • They must participate in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for 12 – 48 hours

Fines and Charges for Tier II and Tier III

Both Tier II and Tier III DUI first-time offenders need to pay mandatory surcharges and fines for all convictions. These fines and surcharges include:

  • $33 court fees
  • $300 to $500 fine
  • $230 IDRC fee
  • $125 DWI surcharge
  • $50 Victims of Crime Compensation
  • $100 drunk driving fund
  • $3000 Motor Vehicle Commission Surcharge ($1000 per year for three years)
  • Up to 30 days prison term
  • $75 Neighborhood Services Fund

NJ DUI - 2nd Offense

A second offense is committed when a person is convicted of DUI or DWI within ten years after the first offense. Convicted persons face stiffer penalties for this repeated offense. They face mandatory penalties and fines such as:

Fines and Penalties

  • 30 days of community service
  • A jail sentence of anywhere between 48 hours to 90 days
  • License suspension of 1 – 2 years
  • They must use an ignition interlock device (IID) during the license suspension period and 2 – 4 years after restoration
  • Participate in the IDRC for up to 48 hours

Fees and surcharges

  • $33 court fees
  • $500 – $1000 fine
  • $280 IDRC fee
  • $125 DWI surcharge
  • $75 Neighborhood Services Fund
  • $100 AERF
  • $1000 per year for three years surcharge to the Motor Vehicle Commission
  • $50 to the VCCO
  • $100 Drunk Driving Fund

NJ DUI - 3rd Offense

If you get arrested for the third time for DUI in NJ, then the consequences will be severe. Note that for an arrest to be counted as 3rd degree, it should be in between 10 years from the second offense. However, note that it will only take a BOC 0.08 and above to be convicted. New Jersey state has outlined the following consequences for third and subsequent offenses.


  • Mandatory prison time of 180 days
  • The license will be suspended for eight years
  • Maximum of 90 days of community service participation
  • You must use an ignition interlock device IID in the period of license suspension and 1 – 4 years a after restoration

Fees and surcharges

  • $125 DWI charge
  • A minimum of $1000 fine
  • $280 IDRC fee
  • $100 to the AERF
  • $75 Neighborhood Services Fund
  • $50 to the VCCO
  • $33 court fees
  • $1000 per year to the Motor Vehicle Commission for three years.

Underage DWI/DUI charges

You can be charged with DUI regardless of your age. In New Jersey, an underage person is someone under the age of 21. Since a person under the age of 21 is not allowed to take alcohol, then they can be charged with as low as 0.01% to 0.08%. In case you get arrested with over 0.08%, then you will be charged with both DWI and underage DWI.

An underage DUI entails the following penalties. The offender has to serve a 15 – 30 day community service. In addition, the state will suspend the driving license for 30 to 90 days. In case the offender carries a teen probationary license, then they will not receive the basic driver’s license for one year. On top of that, they have to take a remedial driving course for four hours.

If it’s a teen holding a learner’s permit, then they also need to complete a 4-hour remedial lesson. Furthermore, their driving license will be suspended for another 90 days. Subsequent DUI offenses can result in revocation or further license suspension, among other penalties.

All underage offenders have to complete the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program. The IDRC will offer the offenders appropriate treatment levels based on an evaluation and interview. Other than evaluation, the treatment level can be based on the offender’s BAC and driving record.

Drivers Licensed in other States

If a driver from another state is charged with DUI within New Jersey State, they will face the same consequences as the NJ drivers. This includes Jail times, fines, and other fees. Although the Motor Vehicle Commission cannot suspend the license of out-of-state drivers in other states, it will deny them the privilege to drive in New Jersey. If the driver wants to challenge the charges, they must do it in the New Jersey court system. This might force the driver to make multiple trips for hearing and hire an attorney licensed by the NJ state.

The problems don’t end here. New Jersey is part of the Driver’s License Compact, an interstate agreement with many US states to share information about traffic offenses in their respective jurisdictions. The Motor Vehicle Commission will likely share your DUI conviction with your driving License home state. The licensing authority of your home state may choose to suspend your license or impose more penalties. How the state responds depends on its rules, which might differ from other states.

What is the Difference between DUI and DWI in NJ?

There is no difference between DUI and DWI in NJ. Therefore these two terms can be used interchangeably to refer to the same thing. Prosecution of Driving Under the influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) fall under the same Statutes of NJSA 39:4-50. Both DUI and DWI face the same consequences, including penalties, license suspension, program requirements, surcharges, and detainment. Unlike Some States such as Texas, where DUI and DWI are treated as different crimes, in NJ, there is no confusion.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does DUI stay on your record?

A DUI is considered a serious traffic offense in the state of NJ. For this reason, it can last a minimum of 10 years in your record. It will affect you both financially and legally. Apart from paying high fines and surcharges, a DUI can affect your ruling in other criminal charges, and getting an education loan will become difficult. Besides, you might have difficulty securing a job with a DUI on your record.

2. Is DUI a crime in NJ?

A DUI/DWI is not considered a crime, felony, or misdemeanor in New Jersey. It is usually considered a serious traffic violation. However, it is important to note that a DUI can escalate to a criminal offense depending on the circumstances. For example, it can be considered a crime if the driver causes an accident, drives with a suspended license, drives with a child on board, or causes death or bodily injury. When a drunk driver causes an accident inflicting body injuries on other people, they will be charged with Assault by the Auto offense.

3. What is the punishment for DUI in NJ?

The punishment for a DUI in NJ depends on several factors. First is the BAC level, repeat DUIs and age. However, there is mandatory jail time, fines, and surcharges, for committing a DUI. Also, your license will be suspended, and you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device for some time.

4. How many points is a DUI in NJ?

NJ state does place penalties inform of points on the driver’s license for a Refusal (NJSA 39:4-50.4a) or a DUI (NJSA 39:4-50). However, it will place penalties on other forms of moving violations. Note that if you accumulate six points, you have to pay surcharges of thousands of dollars. Furthermore, if you accumulate 12 points, your Driving license can be revoked or suspended. Most moving violations strike the drivers an average of 3 points. However, exceeding 15 and 29 miles per hour will get the offender 4 points. If a driver exceeds 30MPH, they will receive 5 points strike.

4. Does DUI come up on background checks DUI in NJ?

A DUI will not come up on criminal background checks in New Jersey. This means it will not affect your ability to secure a house or a job. However, if you are charged with careless driving or over speeding, it will appear on background checks. A DUI that hasn’t caused accidents and death, no child in the car is considered a quasi-criminal offense, and it will never come up on a background check.

Final Thoughts

A DUI is a very serious traffic violation in New Jersey. The offense gets tougher with repeated violations and more alcohol content measured in BAC. This is a test that shows the amount of alcohol in your blood at the time of the arrest. Repeated violations can lead to your license being revoked or suspended. You will be forced to pay fines, surcharges, and court fees and might also serve a short-term jail sentence. If you are an out-of-state offender, then your details will be shared by the home state, which can charge you more. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock device during the license suspension period and after restoration. This device prevents the car from starting if it detects alcohol.

Scroll to Top