Being convicted of a DWI in New Jersey carries harsh penalties that you should look to avoid at all costs. If you’ve been pulled over and charged with a DWI within a school zone, the penalties become far more severe. In New Jersey, a DWI within the boundaries of a school zone can amount to double the penalties of a normal DWI. To make matters even worse, New Jersey treats a DWI within a school zone as a separate violation than a normal DWI and you can be charged of both simultaneously.
Definition of a School Zone
New Jersey’s definition of a school zone is broad and goes far beyond the surrounding area of the school building itself. In the eyes of New Jersey law, a school zone is defined as:
- Anywhere 1,000 feet surrounding school property, including the school building, parking lots, and athletic fields
- Any school property owned by a school or the school board
- The area around a crosswalk designated for school crossing
- A crosswalk not designated for school crossing but had minors present at the time of the DWI
These factors make school zones in New Jersey massive, making your chances of receiving increased penalties significantly high. To add to this, it doesn’t matter if you were aware you were in a school zone or not. Ignorance is not a valid defense in a school zone DWI case. It’s also irrelevant whether school was in session or if school children were actually present. If you’re caught driving drunk in a school zone, expect harsh consequences.
Penalties for a DWI in an NJ School Zone
A school zone DWI is treated completely separately than a normal DWI. This means that if you’ve previously been convicted of a DWI, a school zone DWI won’t count as a second DWI offense but as a first school zone DWI offense. That being said, the penalties for a school zone DWI are significantly harsher than a normal DWI. These penalties also increase with each subsequent violation.
First School Zone DWI
- License suspension of 1-2 years
- Fine between $500 and $800
- Up to 60 days in jail
Second School Zone DWI
- License suspension of 4 years
- Fine between $1,000 and $2,000
- 60 days of community service
- Between 4 and 180 days in jail, 90 of which can be served through community service
Third School Zone DWI or more
- License suspension of 20 years
- Fine of $2,000
- 180 days in jail without parole
It’s important to note that these penalties come in addition to the penalties of a normal DWI. With so much on the line, it is absolutely crucial to contact a school zone DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. These charges aren’t impossible to beat. At the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq., we have a successful team of attorneys who work aggressively to prevent these life-ruining charges. If you’ve been charged with a school zone DWI, contact us immediately.