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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: April 1, 2011
A driver is showing his license - Leckerman Law, LLC

If you’re an underage driver or have a CDL, you’ll want to read this

Drivers who have special licenses face some very strict New Jersey DWI laws. Drivers who just started driving and are under the age of 21, and those who drive commercially for a living, face increased consequences for drunk driving than the penalties for the typical adult driver.

Consider the fact that those drivers (even boaters) who are under the age of 21 risk an underage DWI conviction with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of just .01%. If convicted of violating N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 (underage or “kiddie” DWI), those drivers will lose their licenses from 30 to 90 days, will be required to spend between 15 and 30 days in community service, and will have to attend the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC).

An underage driver can be charged with a “regular” DWI under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, as well as an underage DWI. The penalties for an underage DWI conviction will be imposed in addition to penalties for a “regular” DWI. Mandatory fines and penalties will be imposed. These are: $250 to $400 fines, attendance at the IDRC, which has a fee of $75 per day (see below), a $100 fee paid to the drunk driving fund, $75 paid to the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund, and a total payment of $3,000 in surcharges ($1,000 every year for three years). Added together, this total is $3,500 MINIMUM. And it’s possible you’ll have to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle at your own expense.

Drivers who possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) are subject to more stringent DWI laws. Consider the repercussions of a New Jersey DWI conviction: A first offense committed in ANY vehicle (not just a commercial vehicle, but a commercial driver’s own personal vehicle) will result in a CDL being suspended for a period of one year. This means that a drunk driving conviction will deprive you of being able to provide for yourself and your family by driving a commercial vehicle. Keep in mind, your basic driver’s license will be suspended for a period between three to 12 months on top of the CDL suspension. A second DWI will result in the permanent revocation of your CDL, along with a two-year suspension of your basic driver’s license. Even if you’re convicted of a DWI in another State, that State will report it to New Jersey.

In other words, you’re going to need to find a different line of work, because you will no longer be driving commercially.

Anyone who has been convicted of a New Jersey DWI, underage DWI or commercial driver DWI must attend an IDRC program. There is an IDRC in each New Jersey County for first-time offenders. The centers provide highway safety education and alcohol courses. Because the IDRC conducts an alcohol or drug dependency evaluation, it will also be determined if there’s a need for treatment. If that’s the case, the treatment will last a minimum of 16 weeks at the appropriate provider. This treatment can be supplemented with self-help group attendance. The IDRC works with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) and reports compliance. Non-compliance can result in an additional period of license suspension and possible jail time.

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