Published On: May 16, 2024Categories: Educational, Treatment ResourcesComments Off on What Happens When You Get a DUI or DWI in New Jersey?

You or your loved one just got a DWI charge. After the initial shock and worry subsides a bit, you’re left wondering what comes next. A DWI or DUI charge in NJ can cause a flood of emotions. It may serve as a red flag or a wake-up call. It may be just the push a person requires to get the substance abuse treatment they need 

What happens after you get a DWI or DUI in New Jersey? How can you protect yourself or your loved one and get them moving in the right direction? You’ll find the answers to all of these questions and more in this article. 

What Should I Do After Getting a DUI or DWI in New Jersey?

The following advice applies not only to a person who gets a DUI/DWI in NJ but also to their parents, spouses, or loved ones. If your son or daughter got a DWI, this is relevant information for you too, so keep reading.

  1. The first rule is always to stay calm. You will likely overwhelmed by anxiety and waves of regret. Take a deep breath. Accept what has happened. You cannot change the past — what’s done is done. But you can make things better for yourself by following sound advice. 
  2. Cooperate with law enforcement. Now is not the time to start Facebook Live streaming or decide you’re a constitutional scholar or a “sovereign citizen”. Just don’t. Do what you’re supposed to do. That doesn’t mean you need to talk to the police if you’ve been read your Miranda rights, but don’t be a jerk and don’t refuse a field sobriety test. 
  3. Hire an attorney, if you can. Having capable legal defense can make a real difference here. Hire a lawyer and follow their directions to the letter. 
  4. Don’t miss any court dates. There are a few valid excuses for missing court. Do whatever you must, to make your court appearances and dress like you’re going for a job interview. 
  5. Make sure you understand the procedures. Know what programs you are required to complete, what documentation the court needs to see, and what you need to do to get your license reinstated. 

What is the Punishment for a DUI or DWI Conviction in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, being charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense. Here’s what you need to know regarding laws in NJ and the potential legal consequences if you or someone you know is convicted of DUI or DWI here.

  • For a first DWI or DUI conviction, the driver will generally face up to 30 days in jail, $250 to $400 in fines, 12 to 48 hours in New Jersey’s Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) Program, and a license revocation period of three months.
  • A first-time New Jersey DUI offender who registers a BAC of less than 0.10% and who did not cause a car accident that injured others can usually avoid jail time3.
  • The penalties for a conviction under New Jersey DUI laws are based on how high your blood alcohol concentration is and whether you are a repeat offender.
  • Parents or guardians convicted of impaired driving can be charged with a disorderly person offense if they have a passenger aged 17 or under in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
  • New Jersey has zero-tolerance laws for drivers under 21. Driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in your system (a BAC of .01 or higher) can result in losing your driving privileges for 30 to 90 days.

Can I Go to Diversion or Rehab if I Get a DWI in New Jersey?

Unfortunately, New Jersey does not offer diversion programs to DUI offenders. Drunk driving and driving under the influence laws have become very strict over the years and with good reason. If your knowledge of DUI/DWI is 20 or 30 years out of date, you may be in for a rude awakening. 

With that said — yes, you can go to an alcohol or drug treatment program if you get a DUI or DWI. In fact, you should. We cannot promise you that it will lessen your punishment — but that’s beside the point. If you are drinking and driving or driving while you’re high, there is an excellent chance you have a substance use disorder. 

The truth is that if you were caught, this is far from the first time you’ve driven under the influence and if you do that regularly — you have a problem. There’s no getting around it. Even if you had the extraordinarily bad luck of getting nabbed on one of the tiny handful of occasions when you drink and drive or you just “took a little too much medication”, you may have more questionable judgment than you realize.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment Works

The bottom line is this. No one ever went to rehab and came out the other side less mentally healthy than they went in. Treatment is definitely not going to hurt you and there is a very good chance it will help you in ways you can’t even imagine. What many people don’t realize about drug and alcohol treatment is that they cover a whole lot more than drugs and booze in there.

Why? It’s simple really. Drug and alcohol abuse are rarely standalone problems. More often than not addiction to alcohol or another substance is a symptom of deeper issues. For some people drinking or using may be a coping mechanism for uncomfortable feelings like depression or anxiety. For others, there may be trauma or PTSD involved. It’s rarely simple — but the good news is that there is real help for drinking and drug problems out there.

Substance use disorder treatment works. As long as you’re willing to make a real effort to change your life and confront some uncomfortable truths about yourself — you can recover from alcoholism or addiction. You just have to be willing to be honest and to make the effort. 

Real Help for Substance Abuse and DUI/DWI in NJ

NJRC can help. We offer one of the most trusted substance use disorder treatment programs in the Northeast. Don’t let a DUI or DWI conviction derail your life or the life of a loved one. An incident like this can either be a red flag that someone is headed into rough waters — or it can be a turning point where they decide to change for the better. 

The evidence-based, dual-diagnosis curriculum at North Jersey Recovery Center addresses conditions like depression and anxiety along with substance abuse. We get to the heart of the matter to help the people we treat achieve lasting recovery. 

You or the person you love deserve the best help they can get. That’s NJRC

Let’s talk about what we can do for you and your family today. (877) 790-5873