Recently, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Bill S824, significantly overhauling the New Jersey D.W.I. penalties for first-time offenders. The new law will go into effect on December 1, 2019. As an award-winning D.W.I. attorney, I have been studying this bill extensively as it worked its way through the legislature, and I am looking forward to taking advantage of some of its distinctions to benefit my clients once it becomes enforceable.
What are the Penalties for DWI and Refusal in New Jersey?
For offenses committed on or subsequent to December 1, 2019, first-time D.W.I. offenders face a loss of license of between 30 and 90 days. This is significantly less than the 3 to 12 months imposed under the old law. However, under the new statute, anyone found guilty of a D.W.I offense in New Jersey will be required to pay for and have an Ignition Interlock Device installed from the time of conviction until anywhere from 3 to 18 months following reinstatement in any vehicle they may operate.
You will be required to blow into this device prior to starting the vehicle. You will also be sentenced to between 12 to 48 hours at the Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center. Finally, as with the old law, the total financial consequence of being found guilty will likely run you in excess of $10,000.
What About Second and Subsequent Offenses?
The penalties for second and subsequent offenses remain unchanged. For a second offense, you will face a mandatory two-year loss of license. A third offense requires a ten-year loss of license and a mandatory 180 days in county jail.
Are there Provisions in the New Law that May Benefit a First-Time Offender?
In my opinion, yes. While certain consequences, such as the interlock device, have been expanded, the loss of license exposure is significantly reduced.
Perhaps more importantly, I predict that the benefit of taking certain cases to trial will outweigh the risk as the potential consequences of a finding of guilt are reduced. As an experienced and trial-tested attorney, I can force the State to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they are unable to meet this burden, you will avoid these penalties and save yourself thousands upon thousands of dollars.
If you have been convicted with a D.W.I. and need representation, get in touch with Robert F. Black, Jr. today.