From your end, you might have thought you waited enough time after your last drink before driving. Or that the drive home would be quick enough to not involve a traffic stop. The reality is there is no justification for driving while intoxicated and there are serious penalties in place for those who violate DWI laws in New Jersey.

These penalties can impact your life from the moment of your arrest and for many years to come. But, criminal defense attorneys understand how seriously a DWI can impact one’s life, and can come up with a defense strategy that makes sense for your case.

DWI penalties

You might be wondering what worst-case-scenario might involve. For starters, if this is your first DWI charge, typical penalties will require you to:

  • Pay a fine up to $400
  • Serve up to 30 days in jail
  • Face license revocation
  • Use an ignition interlock for three months
  • Complete a drunk driving program
  • Pay an extra $1,000 toward your car insurance for three years

You may face greater fines and have to install an ignition interlock device for longer than three months if your blood alcohol content is higher than 0.10%. And subsequent DWI charges often result in greater fines, lengthier jail sentences, a longer ignition interlock requirement, license suspension and community service.

Consequences of a criminal charge

Many of these punishments have daily life implications that are worth examining as you await your court date, including short- and long-term impacts.

Immediately, you might be dealing with the expensive aftermath of the charge. This can create some economic instability. On top of that, if your job requires you to drive, then you might lose it.

Looking ahead, a criminal charge on your record can result in difficulty landing future jobs, and having high insurance rates for years to come can cause an ongoing financial stress. Also, serving jail time can cause mental health issues that can take time to heal from.

It’s important to keep in mind that even though your own choices led to a DWI charge, you can find support in fighting the charge and challenging the penalties you face.