Driving While Intoxicated Penalties In NJ Could Change Soon: How This Affects You

The primary concern most people have after they are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey is whether they will lose their driver’s licenses, and if so, for how long.  Losing your license can have a devastating impact on your ability to work, to take care of your children, and to do your everyday activities.  This is even more true for those who live in areas where public transportation isn’t readily available.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changes to the penalties for DWI, in part due to research that suggests that ignition interlock devices (what most would call a “breathalyzer”) in the vehicles of those convicted of DWI actually helps reduce re-arrest rates more than lengthy suspension of driving privileges.  Our lawmakers are also considering changes to our DWI laws that reflect the growing issue of “drugged driving,” especially among those who use and abuse drugs like heroin, Fentanyl, and oxycodone.

If the new law is put into effect and you are ultimately convicted of DWI, you will likely have a shorter license suspension, but you will have to install a breathalyzer in your vehicle during your license suspension and for a period of time after your driving privileges are restored.

Call for a consultation with the lawyers at Martone Law Group, LLC if you are charged with driving under the influence.  We care about getting you the best outcome possible.

 

For those who are interested, below is the full Statement contained in the proposed bill.

This bill decreases the length of driver’s license suspensions for the first offense of drunk driving and refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test and increases ignition interlock device requirements for the offenses of drunk driving and refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test.  Under current law, the period of a driver’s license suspension for first time drunk driving offenders is based on the offender’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If the offender’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher but less than 0.10 percent, the driver’s license is suspended for three months. If the offender’s BAC is 0.10 percent or higher, the driver’s license is suspended for seven months to oneyear. Currently, the driver’s license suspension for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test is seven months to one year.

The bill reduces the driver’s license suspension for first time offenders with a BAC of between 0.08 percent and 0.10 from “three months” to 30 days. The bill reduces the driver’s license suspension for first time offenders with a BAC greater than 0.10 percent from “seven months to one year” to 45 days if the first time offender’s BAC is between 0.10 percent and 0.15 percent and 90 days if the first time offender’s BAC is 0.15 percent or higher.

Under current law, the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) is discretionary for first time drunk driving offenders whose BAC is under 0.15 percent but, if required by the court, the IID is to be installed in the motor vehicle principally operated by the offender for six months to one year following the license suspension. First time offenders whose BAC is 0.15 percent or higher are required to install an IID in the motor vehicle they principally operate during the period of suspension, in addition to
 six months to one year following the suspension. Installation of an IID also is mandatory for a first offense of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test; it is required during the period of license suspension and six months to one year after the suspension.

The bill makes mandatory the installation of an IID for first time offenders and is required during the license suspension, as well as following the suspension. For first time offenders whose BAC is 0.08 or higher and less than 0.10 percent, the required period of installation is three to six months after the period of license
  suspension; for a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher but less than 0.15 percent, the installation period is six months to one year after the license suspension; and for a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher the installation period is one year to 18 months after the license suspension.

The bill further specifies that a driver may not remove an IID on the date of completing the required period of installation unless the driver provides to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission certification from the manufacturer that, within the final one-third of that period, certain conditions were met. First, the manufacturer’s certification must state that there were no attempts to start the motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher unless a re-test conducted within five minutes of the initial test indicates a BAC of less than 0.08 percent. The manufacturer’s certification must further state that there were no failures to take or pass a test with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher unless a re-test conducted within five minutes of the initial test indicates a BAC of less than 0.08 percent. Finally, the manufacturer’s certification must state that the driver complied with all maintenance, repair, calibration, monitoring, or inspection requirements related to the IID. The data from the readings of the IID are to be made available to the sentenced person upon request. Current law provides for a one year driver’s license suspension for failing to install a required IID. The bill increases the
 suspension to 18 months.