The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo
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What is the difference between a first and second DWI?

In New Jersey, driving with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 percent or higher is illegal. Drivers who do so are considered legally drunk and may face significant penalties if convicted. Moreover, drivers who have consumed alcohol sufficient enough to effectively impair their ability to operate a motor vehicle may be charged with driving while intoxicated, irrespective of their BAC level.

The penalties for a first and second conviction are both severe but differ in their particulars. For a first DUI conviction, individuals may face up to $400 in fines and 30 days of incarceration. Furthermore, first-time offenders may receive a three-month license suspension. These penalties apply only to offenders whose BAC was not found to be .10 percent or higher. For offenders with a higher BAC level, the maximum fine and length of license suspension may be greater.

Individuals convicted of a second DWI offense may face up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines. In addition, second-time offenders may receive a two-year suspension of their driver's license. Furthermore, a second conviction may warrant the installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender's vehicle for one to three years.

Manifestly, the DWI penalties in New Jersey are serious and potentially life-altering. The best way for individuals accused of drunk driving to obviate the penalties that accompany a conviction is to establish a robust, multi-pronged defense against the charges. Toward this end, it is critical to retain the representation and resources of a criminal defense attorney. Even when the prosecution's case appears unassailable, the defense attorney may have the opportunity to negotiate for reduced charges and mitigated penalties.

Source: Department of Law & Public Safety, "Driving While Intoxicated in New Jersey", September 09, 2014

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What is the difference between a first and second DWI? | The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo