Much as everywhere else in United States, the penalties can be extremely harsh for a person found guilty of drunk driving in New Jersey. These crimes are often judged severely in the eyes of the law. However, the penalties vary based on the specifics of the case and they may, in some cases, be reduced. This is why those accused of drunk driving crimes often choose to mount a vigorous defense against the charges.
New Jersey, along with more than half of the states in U.S., has enacted the “Three Strikes” law. This means that a person convicted in federal court of a “serious violent” felony who has two offenses on their record, including at least one other serious violent felony, must serve a mandatory life imprisonment sentence. Therefore, if a person is found guilty three times of DUI-related manslaughter, that person will be required to spend the rest of his or her life behind bars.
The penalties are less severe for first-time DUI offenders and those accused of drunk driving without manslaughter, but the consequences in these cases can still be serious. These include jail time, large fines, probation and other similar consequences.
There are other actions the court may take as well. The court may deem it necessary to have an ignition interlock device installed in the accused drunk driver’s vehicle. An ignition interlock device makes it so a driver must breathe into a device that analyzes a driver’s breath alcohol content. The test must register a level lower than .02 percent in order for the vehicle to start.
Sometimes, too, a person convicted of a DUI will be required to forfeit a driver’s license. In order to get the driver’s license back, that person will often have to finish a DUI education program or attend mandatory Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. In more severe cases, the court may deem it necessary that the accused person undergoes attends in-patient rehabilitation.