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When is drunk driving a felony in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2024 | Drunk Driving

In New Jersey, driving under the influence is a serious offense, but there are specific circumstances that can escalate it to a felony charge. Knowing when drunk driving crosses this threshold is important for understanding the potential legal consequences.

New Jersey’s laws aim to deter and punish reckless behavior on the roads, particularly when it endangers lives.

When DUI can become a felony

In New Jersey, DUI is typically a traffic offense. However, it can escalate to a felony under certain conditions. For example, this can occur when a DUI results in serious injury or death to another person. If an individual causes a motor vehicle accident while driving under the influence and someone sustains significant injuries or loses his or life, the DUI charge can become a felony.

Several aggravating factors can also lead to a DUI felony charge. These factors include prior DUI convictions, high blood alcohol concentration levels, driving with a suspended or revoked license or causing an accident resulting in serious injury or death. Refusing to submit to chemical testing can also result in enhanced penalties, potentially leading to felony charges.

What consequences felony DUI offenders face

A felony DUI can have severe consequences. These may include significant fines and lengthy license suspension or revocation terms. They may also include mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, community service, probation and even imprisonment. Felony DUI convictions also have long-term ramifications. For example, they can impact employment opportunities, professional licenses and personal relationships.

Responsibility.org reports 21,112 arrests for DUI in New Jersey in 2019. Prioritizing responsible and safe driving practices protects oneself while safeguarding the well-being of others on the roadway.