Drinking and driving penalties in New Jersey are already severe but a major new change at the federal level might expand the definition of what qualifies as a DUI in the first place.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now proposing lowering the legal drinking limit from .08 to .05. In New Jersey, the commercial limit is 0.04 while the limit for minors is 0.02. States have sovereignty over their own drinking and driving laws but the federal government uses tactics like tying minimum BAC levels or speed limits to federal highway funding to coerce cooperation.
Like I said, penalties for driving at 0.05 would be stiff unless the legislature carves out a new category:
|1st Offense||2nd Offense||3rd Offense|
|Jail||Up to 30 days||Up to 90 days||Up to 180 days|
|Fines and Penalties||$250 to $500||$500 to $1,000||$1,000|
|License Suspension||3 months to 1 year||2 years||10 years|
Refusing to take the alcotest carries additional penalties:
|1st Offense||2d Offense||3rd Offense|
|Refusal to take test||7 month license revocation||2 year license revocation||10 year license revocation|
A more expansive list of penalties, surcharges, and other consequences, also broken down by BAC levels since higher BAC’s carry stronger penalties, can be found here.
Opponents have argued that driving with a BAC of 0.05 isn’t any more dangerous or “distracting” than driving while using a bluetooth device. We’ll see if any New Jersey state-level officials disagree and propose a change to the law.
The good news is that we’re here to help.
Before you plead guilty to a DWI in New Jersey and lose your driving privilege, pay a substantial fine, pay surcharges, pay increased automobile insurance premiums and possibly go to jail, contact the DWI defense lawyers at DeMichele & DeMichele. Our lawyers have worked as municipal court prosecutors and public defenders in several South Jersey towns. A confidential free consultation with an experienced DWI attorney is just a call (856) 546-1350 or click away.