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When does drunk driving become a felony in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2024 | Criminal Law |

Driving under the influence is a serious offense. Its severity increases when it escalates to a felony charge. In New Jersey, the legal consequences for drunk driving vary based on factors such as blood alcohol concentration and prior offenses.

Felony DUI convictions have serious consequences. They may include substantial fines, mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs, extended license suspensions and the possibility of incarceration. Understanding when drunk driving becomes a felony in the state helps individuals navigate the legal landscape and comprehend the potential repercussions.

Third and subsequent DUI offenses

In New Jersey, a third or subsequent DUI offense is a felony. If someone has two prior convictions for driving under the influence, a third offense elevates the charge to a felony. New Jersey imposes mandatory jail time for individuals convicted of a third or subsequent DUI offense. Felony DUI offenders also face a wide range of collateral consequences. The severity of these consequences emphasizes the state’s commitment to deterring repeat DUI offenses and underscores the importance of responsible and sober driving practices.

Minor passengers

Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle can also elevate a DUI charge to a felony in New Jersey. If there is a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle, the charge may become a felony. This enhancement reflects the increased danger and potential harm associated with driving under the influence while transporting a minor. reports that there were 21,112 arrests for drunk driving in New Jersey in 2019. People can take proactive steps to prevent DUI offenses by prioritizing safety and making informed transportation decisions.