Does New Jersey Consider a DUI a Felony?

man drinking while driving

The consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are severe across the United States. Not only do you face legal ramifications, but you are also subject to social repercussions. Facing charges for a DUI is denounced by many, which could put a strain on relationships with loved ones. Whether you’re guilty of the charges or not, understanding the impacts you face is critical. Continue reading to learn more about whether or not a New Jersey considers a DUI a felony, how it is charged and penalized in the state, and how a Camden County DUI attorney can help represent you.

Is a DUI a Felony in New Jersey?

It is important to note that a DWI (driving while intoxicated) and DUI (driving under the influence) are considered the same charge in New Jersey and are often used interchangeably.

A DUI is not a felony in New Jersey. However, this does not mean that the penalties you will face for charges are not harsh.

New Jersey classifies DUI charges as traffic violations. This means that you will not face a felony charge. However, the circumstances surrounding your DUI can raise the charge from a traffic violation to a disorderly persons, which is equivalent to a misdemeanor charge. Because most DUI charges are classified as traffic violations and not criminal charges, they cannot be expunged from your record. This means the decision to drive while intoxicated can leave a permanent stain on your record.

What Is Considered a DUI?

A person is guilty of a DUI when they are found to be operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration at or over 0.08%. You may still also be charged with a DUI if you have a BAC of less than 0.08% because your driving can still be negatively impacted by any consumption of alcohol. Also, ingesting any kind of drug can lead you to face a DUI charge.

However, anyone under 21 years old is automatically charged with a DUI when they have a BAC of 0.01% or higher. Any detectable amount of alcohol warrants a DUI for someone under the legal drinking age.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI?

Despite the fact that a DUI is not classified as a felony, the penalties are still severe.

For a first-time offender with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.10%, the penalties include a short period in jail, a hefty fine, a license suspension until an ignition interlock device is installed, and enrollment in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.

However, the higher your BAC is, the more severe penalties you can expect. With each subsequent offense, you risk more time in prison and longer suspensions.

If you are charged with a DUI, you may think hiring an attorney is fruitless, which is far from the truth. Contact DeMarco & Associates today to discuss the details of your case and learn how we can help fight for the best outcome for your circumstances.

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