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It Takes A Skilled Defense To Avoid DWI Penalties

A drunk driving arrest is humiliating and frightening. You are right to be worried about the strict penalties for DWI in New Jersey. A conviction could affect your freedoms, your finances, your employment and more.

There is little leeway to negotiate DWI penalties. The only sure way to keep your license and avoid the criminal penalties is to beat your DWI case. The former prosecutors of Gigliotti Law Group give you a fighting chance to get the charges dismissed or win your case at trial.

What Are The DWI Penalties In New Jersey?

New Jersey has tiered penalties for DWI and DUI offenses, based on blood alcohol content (BAC) and prior offenses.


A conviction for DWI carries a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license. Moreover, New Jersey does not allow for a limited “work license.”

  • First-time DWI: On a first offense with a BAC of .08 to .10, the suspension period is three months, but you can resume driving once you have an ignition interlock installed. For a BAC between .10 and .15, the suspension is seven to 12 months (driving allowed with interlock). For a BAC of .15 or greater, there is a hard suspension (no driving) for four to six months, followed by nine to 15 months of driving with an interlock.
  • Subsequent DWI: A second DWI carries mandatory license forfeiture of one to two years, plus two to four years of ignition interlock after the forfeiture period. A third DWI conviction triggers an eight-year forfeiture.
  • Refusal: Refusing the breath test results in a 90-day license suspension, followed by six to 12 months with interlock.


New Jersey’s revised DWI statute reduces the length of license suspension for first offenders but also requires every person convicted of DWI to install an ignition interlock device. The apparatus is installed, at your expense, on the one vehicle you drive most often. It analyzes a sample of your breath and prevents the car from starting if it detects any traces of alcohol. The device must remain installed after your forfeiture period (suspension) is served; the duration of interlock depends on your BAC level and prior convictions.


Most first offenders will NOT be sentenced to jail unless their case involves “aggravating factors,” such as an injury accident, excessively high BAC, a child in the car or reckless driving while impaired. If such aggravating factors exist, the judge can impose up to 30 days in jail.

The possibility of a jail sentence rises sharply for a second offense. Drivers charged with a second DWI face a minimum of 48 hours in jail and up to 90 days at the court’s discretion. A third offense carries a mandatory jail term of six months, but the court will reduce the sentence by up to 90 days if the person enters an in-patient drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.


Every person convicted of DWI must report to their county’s Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) for mandatory class sessions. The classes are designed to educate individuals about drunk driving and help identify those who need substance abuse intervention. A first-time DWI requires 12 hours of IDRC over two days. A second offense requires 48 hours of IDRC detention scheduled over a weekend or at an overnight facility. A third conviction requires 12 to 48 hours of detention. Any driver deemed at risk (including first offenders) may be ordered into a 16-week treatment program.

DWI Penalties Have Teeth. We Bite Back.®

Our defense team includes former prosecutors who know how to fight a DWI, from the legality of the traffic stop to the validity of the breathalyzer result. Our goal is to spare you from the criminal penalties of a DWI charge, as well as the collateral impact on your employment and future. Our attorneys at Gigliotti Law Group have the experience and skill to defend even the toughest cases.

Call our South Jersey DWI defense lawyers at 844-742-7591 or contact us online for a free consultation.