Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are often used interchangeably to describe instances of drunk driving or driving while high on drugs. For drivers pulled over in New Jersey, is there a difference between being charged with DWI and DUI?
In short, no. While some states use the terms DWI and DUI to describe different offenses, New Jersey does not. The statute N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 uses the term “driving while intoxicated,” meaning DWI is the official legal term for drunk driving or driving under the influence of controlled substances. However, DUI is a perfectly acceptable term and is recognized colloquially as referring to the same offense.
What is the Legal Limit for DWI in NJ?
New Jersey defines the legal limit for DWI at 0.08% blood-alcohol content (BAC). The exception is drivers under the age of 21, in which case any amount of alcohol (0.01%) can result in being charged under NJ’s Zero Tolerance law.
It’s worth noting that the presence of drugs in one’s bloodstream cannot be tested in the same way that alcohol can using roadside testing kits (i.e. breathalyzers). Therefore, an officer’s observations of the driver’s mental and physical state can be used as evidence to charge one for DWI drugs. New Jersey does not have separate statutes for driving under the influence of drugs and driving under the influence of alcohol; drivers are charged under 39:4-50 and face the associated penalties regardless of what was causing impairment.
Penalties for DWI in NJ
A first-time conviction for DWI in New Jersey can result in many serious consequences, including:
- Up to 30 days in jail
- Fines of $250 to $500
- License suspension for 3 months (BAC 0.08 – 0.10) or 7 to 12 months (BAC 0.10+)
- Possible installation of an interlock device.
Those with a BAC of 0.10% of more can face harsher penalties. The same is true of a second or third conviction in less than 10 years. For more about NJ DWI penalties, defenses, and more check out our full page here.
If you or a loved one has been charged with DWI/DUI in New Jersey, contact an attorney to avoid the most serious consequences. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled DWI and traffic ticket attorneys who can evaluate the details of your case and help reduce or eliminate the worst penalties. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.