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What are the penalties for Dwi in a school zone?

Branchburg, NJ |

I know I need a lawyer and I am looking for one. But in the mean time, I am trying to figure out what the penalty is. I was stopped for a Dwi ( second offense). I know the penalties for that. But I also got a ticket for Dwi in a school zone, I was not charged with that last time. It was 3 am and there was no school in session! Does that matter and as a first offender Dwi in a school zone, do I face additional penalties?

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Attorney answers 3


Yes, you face additional penalties. As a second offense- a fine of $1,000 to $2,000, mandatory jail sentence of 4 days to 6 months, a license suspension of 4 years, and 60 days of community service, despite the fact that school was not in session.

David Bradley
Bradley Law Firm, LLC


The problem with the school zone deal is that to fight the DWI you have expose yourself to the school zone. The sentence is higher on a first offense DWI, but on a second the effect is minimal. A first offense school zone is $500-$800, up to 60 days in the county, and 1 year to 2 year suspension. The time of day and presence of children are "not relevant" pursuant to the statute. There are other conditions possible as well. But State v. Reiner says the two charges merge with the higher penalties imposed. The only higher sentence on the school zone is jail but you can get up to 90 days on the second. Just try to beat the DWI.


Because you were previously convicted of DWI (non school-zone), you are a 1st DWI school-zone offender (not a 2nd). Your statutory sentencing exposure (as a 1st school zone offender) is a fine of not less than $500 or more than $800, jail for not more than 60 days, and license suspension of not less than one year or more than two years.

You are however, facing statutory sentencing as a 2nd DWI offender (assumign that the 1st offense was within ten years of your 2nd). If convicted, you are facing (a) a fine of between $500 and $1,000, (b) community service for 30 days, (c) imprisonment for a 48 hours to 90 days, (d) two-year loss of license, and (e) installation of an ignition interlock device for the period of suspension and one to two years upon restoration. The school-zone sentence would in large part, merge into the 2nd DWI sentence - meaning that your license loss exposure is limited to 2 years maximum (for the two DWI charges).

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