Joseph A. Lombardo
After a DWI, most people want to move on with their lives and leave it in the past. People who are rebuilding their lives may wonder how long a DUI will stay on their record. Unfortunately, DWIs remain on driving records forever in New Jersey; there is no opportunity for expungement. Continue reading to learn about how a DWI is treated on your personal record, what kind of penalties you can expect to receive for various DWI offenses, and how Atlantic City DWI defense lawyer Joseph Lombardo can assist you as you face the consequences of a DWI charge.
Do DWIs Remain on Your Driving Record in New Jersey?
Once you are charged with a DWI or DUI, it will remain on your record for the rest of your life. There is nothing you or a lawyer can do to remove it from your driving record, and expungement is not an option. (Since a DWI does not result in points on drivers’ licenses, there is no need to get points off your license.) For many people, this consequence has a big impact on their ability to return to a normal life after facing DWI or DUI charges.
However, New Jersey has what is known as a 10-year step-down rule. If you go 10 years or more without getting a DUI or DWI, your second charge will be treated like a first charge. In other words, a second DUI offense will be stepped down to a first-time DUI (with all of its corresponding penalties) if more than ten years elapse after your first offense; this also applies to a third offense if a decade has passed since your second one. Following a DUI charge, it’s recommended that you get in touch with a DUI attorney as soon as possible.
Penalties for a DWI in New Jersey
A DWI carries increasingly severe penalties with each offense. Drivers in New Jersey can expect to face DWI charges if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. Drivers under the age of 21 can face DUI or DWI charges if their BAC is greater than 0.01%; penalties will likely include mandatory community service, and if they are under the age of 17 at the time of their arrest, they will have their license suspended once they turn 17. Commercial drivers will be charged with a DWI if their BAC exceeds 0.04%.
First-time DUI offenses in New Jersey are divided into three tiers depending on the driver’s BAC: Tier I is for people that have a BAC that is between 0.08% and 0.09%, Tier II is for people that have a BAC that is between 0.1% and 0.14%, and Tier III is for people that have a BAC of 0.15% or above.
First offenses that fall into Tier I may result in license suspension, mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, up to 30 days of jail time, or participation in a prevention program, as well a litany of fines and fees. Tier II and Tier III offenses carry penalties that include a longer period of time with an ignition interlock device, larger fines, and more fees.
Fines and fees that come with Tier II and Tier III first-time DWI offenses include a DWI surcharge, court fees, $50 to the Victims of Crime Compensation Office, a $230 Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) fee, $100 to a drunk driving fund, $100 to the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund (AERF), $1,000 per year to the Motor Vehicle Commission for three years, $75 to the Neighborhood Services Fund, and a punitive fine of between $300 and $500.
A second DWI or DUI charge that occurs within 10 years of a first offense carries penalties that include license suspension, community service participation, use of an ignition interlock device, participation in a program provided by the IDRC, and a prison term of up to 90 days. The fines and fees that come with a second DWI charge are similar to those from a first DWI charge, although the punitive fine is larger.
A DWI that happens for the third time in a person’s life (within 10 years of their second charge) carries penalties that include a license suspension of up to eight years, up to six months in prison, participation in a community service program, participation in an IDRC program, and use of an ignition interlock device. Also, the fines and fees are even larger than those required for first and second offenses.
Charges Related to DWI and DUI
There are issues related to DWI and DUI charges that New Jersey residents should be aware of. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test in New Jersey can result in penalties that are just as severe as those from a DWI and DUI charge. New Jersey is an implied consent state, which means that driers give implicit consent to have their breath tested if an officer has reason to believe that they were driving while under the influence. Drivers should also note that carrying an open container of alcohol can result in a fine of $200.
Contact a New Jersey DWI Attorney Right Away
While it is not possible to wipe a DWI from your permanent driving record, it is possible to stay informed about the penalties you might face for DWI offenses in New Jersey. For answers to all your questions about your NJ DWI charges, contact New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Joseph Lombardo and schedule a free consultation. You can call (609) 418-4537 today to learn more.
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