New Jersey will now be added to the growing list of states shifting from a punitive approach to a behavioral one to combat drunken driving. Currently, anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated in Ocean County and Monmouth County, New Jersey automatically loses their driver’s license for at least three months…and sometimes longer depending on their blood alcohol content level at the time of the arrest.
This bill, which was recently approved, would change that to 10 days for first-time offenders, provided they install an ignition interlocking device in their vehicle. An ignition interlock is a device installed on the vehicle which requires the operator to blow into it before the car can be started – it does not allow the vehicle to start if the driver is intoxicated.
DWI Violations in New Jersey are a serious matter, and while some of the penalties for a DWI conviction are mandatory, there are a few aspects that a judge has control over. An experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer will be able to professionally assess your case and all of the defenses available to you that may work to minimize your penalties.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports the bill and unfortunately, since statistics show half of all drivers who have their licenses suspended because of a DWI conviction keep driving anyway, it is encouraging to see that those states where interlock laws have already been passed, arrest rates have gone down 67 percent. The legislation has been promoted extensively by MADD, which said that Oregon, Arizona, Louisiana, and New Mexico saw drunk driving-related fatalities fall by 30 percent after putting similar laws in place.
The bill, which passed the full Assembly last year, now goes to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk for consideration. Concerning the offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50), the bill revises the relevant penalty provisions in full detail found here.
Under the legislation (A1368), offenders caught driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent to .10 percent would have to install the devices for three months. If the device detects that an offender attempted to drive drunk during the third month, he would have to keep the device installed for an extra month. A driver with blood alcohol content of .10 percent to .15 percent would have to install the devices for seven months to one year.
Tampering or not installing the interlock would be a disorderly person’s offense, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine, as well as license suspension. The same penalty would apply to anyone who drives a vehicle without an interlock.
Contact the experienced New Jersey DWI lawyers of Villani & Deluca, P.C. if you have been charged with a DWI, DUI or refusal. Call 732-965-3350 today for a free initial consultation. We represent clients throughout Monmouth County and Ocean County, New Jersey.