Drunk Driving Laws In New Jersey vs. Arizona

Guest blog written by Evan M. Levow, Esq.
Evan M. Levow, Esq. is an award-winning New Jersey DWI defense attorney at Levow DWI Law who has been successfully representing drivers arrested on DWI charges in New Jersey for decades. In addition to his dedication to representing his clients, Evan is also committed to giving back by helping educate drivers throughout the country about DUI laws and safe driving practices.

Drunk driving laws may vary widely between states and are dependent on the specific details of your arrest. While the definitions of DUI in Arizona and New Jersey are similar, the penalties for DUI in Arizona are very different from in New Jersey.

Drunk Driving Laws In New Jersey vs. Arizona

Arizona DUI Definition

az dui penalities The definition of DUI by the Arizona DMV, is Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is considered dangerous and life threatening. Doing so warrants harsh penalties from both the courts and the Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).

According to MADD drunk driving statistics in Arizona last year resulted in 22,367 arrests and a 36 per cent increase from the year before in all total traffic deaths. DUI/DWI penalties will depend on the accident circumstances, however, there is the likelihood of facing jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension/revocation among other penalties.

NJ DUI Definition

NJ DWI penalities In the state of New Jersey, driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) is very serious and carries with it harsh penalties on people who break the law. The laws in NJ are complex when it comes to DUI/DWI charges and there are surcharges, points and other penalties given by the Motor Vehicle Commission. The drunk driving fatalities in the state resulted in 22, 201 DUI related arrests and 20 per cent total of all traffic deaths.

New Jersey like many other states has an implied consent law that requires you to take a breath test. If a breath is refused, you can be detained, a blood sample may be taken and you will be subject to penalties. Other penalties for a chemical test refusal include losing your license for 7 to 12 months and pay a fine that can total $300 to $500.


In both the states of Arizona and New Jersey, DUI is defined as driving with a BAC of 0.08% or greater for non-commercial drivers and 0.04% for commercial drivers. For drivers under the age of 21 in Arizona, there is a zero-tolerance policy while the BAC limit in New Jersey is 0.01%. In addition, in Arizona, the court and the arresting officer have the discretionary privilege to charge you with a DUI, even if your BAC is less than any of the legal limits defined.

Penalties for First Offense, Standard DUI

spending the night in jail for a dui

For a first offense, standard DUI (BAC greater than 0.08%) in Arizona, penalties include 10 days in jail and $1,250 in fines. In New Jersey, for a first offense, standard DUI (BAC 0.08% but less than 0.10%), penalties include a suspended license for 3 months, a maximum 30-day prison term, and $250-400 in fines.

Penalties for First Offense, Extreme DUI

new jersey officer dui breather In Arizona, if you commit your first offense with a BAC of 0.154% or greater or in New Jersey if you commit your first offense with a BAC of 0.10% or greater, you will face more serious criminal charges. In Arizona, penalties include 30 days in jail and $2,500 or greater in fines while in New Jersey your license will be suspended for 7-12 months, you will face a maximum of 30 days in prison and will be charged $300-500 in fines. In addition, in New Jersey, if your BAC was 0.15 or greater, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for 6 months to a year after your license is restored.

The Arizona ignition interlock law requires the convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock before gaining back unrestricted driving privileges. The law passed in 2007 is making a difference in the state’s drunk driving deaths.

Common Penalties Across DUI Categories

local DUI lawyer in AZ It does not matter which type of DUI you are arrested for, there are some penalties that remain consistent across the DUI types in Arizona including mandatory alcohol and drug screening, drug and alcohol treatment, and an educational program. You will also be required to install an IID system in your vehicle and participate in community service. For all DUI categories in New Jersey, you will be required to participate in the IDRC (Intoxicated Driver Resource Center) for 12-48 hours, pay several state fees to specific funds amounting to approximately $505, and pay surcharges of 1,000 per year for 3 years.

Penalties for Subsequent Offenses

In Arizona, penalties for subsequent offenses for standard or extreme DUI include 90-120 or more days in jail, $3,000 – $3,250 in fines, and revocation of your driver’s license for 12 months. If you are charged with aggravated DUI in Arizona, defined as committing your third offense of DUI within 7 years, you will face 2 years in jail and lose your license for 12 months.

Subsequent offense penalties in New Jersey are defined by the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in two categories. For the second offense within 10 years, you will lose your license for two years, be charged several fees, serve 48 hours – 90 days in prison, and serve 30 days of community service. For the third offense within ten years of the second offense, you will lose your license for ten years, pay several fines, spend 180 days in prison, and serve up to 90 days of community service. For both categories, you will be required to participate in IDRC education and have an IID during license suspension and up to 3 years following license restoration.

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