A DWI in Cherry Hill, or anywhere in New Jersey, is not like a petty criminal offense. Unlike many criminal offenses, even if a significant amount of time passes, a DWI, or a charge of driving while intoxicated, can never be expunged from your record. This is because it is technically not a criminal offense, it is a traffic violation in New Jersey and, therefore, this violation will always continue to reappear every time a background check is run on you.
But if you have a DWI, you must realize that you must take all precautions to avoid getting a second DWI, especially within 10 years of the first DWI. This is because the penalties begin to compound, or become more stringent with each offense.
If your DWIs are more than 10 years apart, the second offense will be treated like a first offense for sentencing purposes only. This is referred to as New Jersey’s “Step-Down Rule.” It must be emphasized that the first offense will always remain on your record, even if the second DWI occurs 10 years or more after the first.
At your first offense, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher but less than .10 percent, a judge will impose a fine of $250 to $400, and 12 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, as well as a three-month loss of your driver’s license. The judge may, but does not always issue an ignition interlock requirement. Additionally, with all DWI offenses, court costs and fees will be imposed.
If your BAC is .10 percent or more, the original fine increases to between $300 to $500. You will still have to attend the same 12 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center but the loss of your license will increase to between 7 months to a year, at the judge’s discretion.
If your BAC is .15 percent or higher, an ignition interlock is mandatory during the period of suspension and for 6 months up to one year following restoration of your driving privileges.
Up to 30 days of jail time can be imposed by the judge for a first DWI offense.
If you have a second DWI offense, the fine is increased to between $500 to $1,000 and requires you to complete community service for 30 days. You will lose your license for two years and you must complete 48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center with potentially up to 90 days in jail.
If you have a third offense, it is a $1,000 fine and you must serve 180 days in jail. Ninety of those days can be served at an in-patient rehab center and then an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center at the judge’s discretion. Most importantly, you will lose your license for 10 years.
Additionally, with second and third offenses the ignition interlock is mandatory and must be installed on the person’s car for the period of suspension, plus one to three years.
If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated in South Jersey, you need the best possible legal representation. Contact the Cherry Hill DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio to ensure the best representation. Our offices are located in Moorestown, New Jersey and we serve all South Jersey residents, in Camden County, Gloucester County, and Burlington County. Contact us online or call now 609-230-0374.