Is a DUI a felony in New Jersey?

When it comes to Driving Under the Influence (DUI), the state of New Jersey does not take such matters lightly. According to New Jersey state law, a DUI alone is typically considered a serious traffic violation rather than a crime, felony, or misdemeanor. However, a DUI will appear in Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) records which are available to courts in every state, and, in some cases, especially with aggravating factors present, a DUI may actually constitute felony charges. A DUI case can be escalated to a far more serious charge if:

  • Driving with a minor present in the vehicle
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Causing injury to another person
  • Causing death

If you have been charged with a DUI, the Bergen county DUI attorneys at the Law Office of Carl Spector will gladly represent your case.

Will I get a felony for a first-offense DUI?

Depending on any other additional charges that may have occurred during the incident, first-time DUI offenders can face serious consequences, but you likely won’t face felony charges. In the state of New Jersey, if you are arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%, you can be fined anywhere from $250 to $400. In addition to this, you may face up to 30 days in jail while also being required to attend 12 to 48 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).

If you are arrested with a BAC of 0.10% or higher, you may face even more severe penalties. This can include even higher fines ranging from $300 up to $500. Both cases will result in the loss of your driver’s license until an ignition interlock is installed. However, a DUI with a BAC of 0.08% will only require an ignition interlock installation for 3 months, while a BAC of 0.10% will require an ignition interlock installation to remain for anywhere from seven months to up to a year. Additionally, a first-offense DUI with a BAC of .15% or higher will constitute the installation and use of the ignition interlock device in your vehicle for anywhere between 9-15 months, among other penalties.

What if I am underage?

Although the penalties for a DUI charge for anyone under the age of 21 are not as severe as those legally able to purchase and consume alcohol, they are still no laughing matter. Unlike those charged with a DUI offense over the legal drinking age, if you are under the legal age to possess alcohol, you can be charged with a DUI for a significantly smaller BAC of 0.01%. Underage DUI offenders can be penalized with a suspension of their license for 30 days to up to 90 days. They will also have to attend between 15 to 30 days of community service as well as complete highway safety and alcohol education programs.