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Can you get a DUI in NJ without driving?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | DUI/DWI

Imagine this: You go out for a night on the town with your best buddy, and you’re driving. When it’s time to head home again, you realize that you may have had a little too much to drink to drive safely – but your buddy doesn’t want to sit around while you sip a Coke and sober up.

He says he’s fine to drive. You trust him, so you hand him your keys – but your judgment was clearly a little impaired. Your buddy gets pulled over for weaving over the centerline, and it isn’t long before you’re both in handcuffs and charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

Why would a police officer arrest you?

Normally, a drunk passenger won’t be charged with driving under the influence – but there are exceptions. For example, under New Jersey Statutes, you can be guilty of driving while intoxicated for merely permitting someone else “who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle” that you either own or control. That means as soon as the officer realized that the car was yours, you could be charged with a DUI. In the eyes of the law, you’re as guilty of drunk driving as the person behind the wheel.

Conviction for a drunk driving charge in this state carries stiff penalties. In addition to the damage to your reputation and increased insurance costs, you could also face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $400, in addition to court costs and other fees. You will also be required to attend an “Intoxicated Driver Resource Center” course and lose your license for a minimum of seven months. That makes it particularly important to have experienced legal guidance if you are facing such charges and you haven’t already reached out for personalized feedback.