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What are the penalties for a first-time DUI?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2024 | DWI Offenses

The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety reported 125 alcohol-related auto accident deaths for the 2022 fiscal year. To help lower that number, the law takes a harsh stance on punishing anyone who gets a charge for driving under the influence.

Even a first offense comes with serious consequences. Individuals can expect both legal and financial repercussions.

Driver’s license suspension

One of the immediate consequences is a driver’s license suspension for a period of three months to one year. Individuals may install an ignition interlock device to get privileges back, but it must remain on the vehicle throughout the intended suspension period.

Fines and fees

The fine could range from $250 to $500, depending on the blood alcohol concentration level at the time of the arrest. In addition, the person will have to pay a surcharge on auto insurance of $1,000 for three years. Individuals with a DUI conviction also will have a $100 charge that goes to the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund and a restoration fee of $100.

Individuals also must pay fees for various programs. These include $100 for the Intoxicated Driving Program, $50 for the Violent Crimes Compensation Fund and $75 for the Safe and Secure Community Program.

Program participation

New Jersey enforces mandatory participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program. This program aims to educate individuals about the dangers of driving under the influence and provides counseling services. Individuals will have to participate for at least six hours a day for two days in a row.


Even a first-time offender could find themselves behind bars. The potential sentence is up to 30 days.

Beyond the immediate penalties, a DUI conviction can have lasting impacts on personal and professional lives. Being aware of these potential repercussions allows individuals to make informed decisions about their actions and to understand the gravity of driving under the influence.