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Understanding How Your Blood Alcohol Content Can Affect a DUI Charge

December 14, 2015 | Posted In Drunk Driving - DUI/DWI |

Alcohol often plays a significant role in holiday festivities and this is the time of year when many people are celebrating with good drinks and good food. While it’s a great time to reflect on life’s pleasures and share time with the people you love, it’s important to remember how your celebrating could impact the coming months and years if you’re not careful.

If you’re a licensed driver, it is important for you to know that the legal limit for alcohol in your bloodstream is 0.08 percent when you’re behind the wheel. There are several charts and online forums that roughly map out how much you can drink before you may be deemed too drunk to drive, most of which are based on what you’re drinking, how much time you spend between drinks, and your height, weight, and gender.

It’s impossible to provide a standard amount of alcohol for people across the board because every person reacts differently, but it is possible to use a baseline to determine how drunk you are and whether you really should be behind the wheel of a vehicle.

If you’re caught driving while intoxicated and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or over, you will likely face drunk driving charges. But did you know that the severity of your charges may be affected by the exact level of alcohol in your bloodstream at the time of your arrest? The state’s laws outline the basic penalties and consequences for driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent, but the higher your measured content, the more trouble you may face.

BAC Level Convictions

In New Jersey, if it is your first offense for drunk driving, you are not subject to a mandatory minimum jail sentence. However, you may be subject to other mandatory minimum penalties based on your blood alcohol content:

  • If you are convicted with a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher, you will lose your license for a mandatory period between seven months and one year. You will be subject to a mandatory fine between $300 and $500 and you may be required to pay other fees as well.
  • If you are convicted with a BAC between 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent, you will lose your driver’s license for three months. You will also be required to pay fines between $250 and $400.
  • Even if you are a first-time offender who has been convicted with a BAC of 0.10 percent or greater, you may spend some time behind bars — up to 30 days, depending on the judge’s ruling.
  • If you are convicted with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a mandated period of time, along with the other penalties listed above.

At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, we represent anyone who has been charged with drunk or drugged driving. If your blood alcohol content is greater than the minimum BAC of 0.08 percent, you may be facing some serious penalties above and beyond the normal for DUI/DWI charges in the state. For more information on drunk driving laws and defense options, contact a New Jersey DWI lawyer at HCK for a consultation today.

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