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What happens when you get caught driving while intoxicated?

The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety will tell you drinking and driving is not worth it. The risk of inflicting serious injury or even causing death should be enough to keep anyone away from the driver's seat after a night out with friends. If it is not and police catch you intoxicated behind the wheel, the DHTS provides information about what you can expect next.

Highway safety experts spell out what it means to drive impaired. Since alcohol is not the only substance that can limit a motorist's ability to function, having a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08 or more is just one situation in which charges of driving while intoxicated may apply. If "your driving is negatively impacted" by alcohol or another judgment-altering substance, New Jersey's DHTS says police may charge you with a DWI. 

Also, according to the DHTS, drivers under the age of 21 who get caught drinking and driving potentially face penalties for underage drinking as well as driving under the influence. The courts can require completion of community service and attendance at an educational program related to alcohol use or traffic safety. If this describes you, know that underage drivers can also lose driving privileges for up to 90 days. 

The DHTS outlines increasing fines for DWI offenses. If you are a repeat offender and have at least three convictions, expect a possible $1000 (or more) fine and a potential 180-day imprisonment. That is if the offense occured outside a school zone; if it occurred within one, the penalties will likely be higher. You can also anticipate license suspension to extend for longer periods with each new conviction, beginning with a minimum of three months for the first and extending to at least 10 years for the third. 

Other factors that contribute to stiffer penalties include you having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, refusing to take a breath test, and driving with a previously suspended license. 

Note this information only intends to inform regarding DWIs and should not be interpreted as legal advice. 

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Law Offices of Michael T. Nolan, Jr.
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