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Even a first-time DUI can lead to heavy penalties

If you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent of higher, you can be accused of driving under the influence. You can also be accused if the officer believes you are impaired or if there is other evidence in your vehicle.

The first time you violate the law and are convicted of a DUI with a BAC between .08 and .10 percent, you can face a three-month driving suspension, up to 48 hours at an intoxicated driver resource center, up to 30 days in prison and a fine of up to $400. On a first offense where your BAC is over .10 percent, you face fines of up to $500 and up to a year of your license being suspended as well as up to 30 days in prison or jail.

First offenses range in their types. If you are charged with a first offense in a school zone, you'll face a driver's license suspension for up to 24 months and be charged up to $800. You'll be imprisoned for 60 days, according to the current laws.

If you refuse to take a chemical test, you will lose your license for up to a year and be charged a fine between $300 and $500. You face 12 hours minimum of the intoxicated driver resource center services.

You may not have expected to get caught while driving drunk, or you may believe that the Breathalyzer test was wrong. Whatever the case is, it's important to protect your right to your license. With the right help, you can defend yourself and make sure you're treated fairly.

Source: New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, "NJ Facts: driving under the influence (DUI) point system," accessed Aug. 30, 2017

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