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New Changes To New Jersey’s DWI Law

Legal Blog

License Suspension For First-Time Offenders

Under current law, the period of 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 one year. The driver’s license suspension for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test currently is seven months to one year. 

Under this bill, the three-month driver’s license suspension for first-time offenders with a BAC of between 0.08 percent and 0.10 is reduced to 30 days. The seven-month driver’s license suspension for first-time offenders with a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher is reduced to 45 days if the BAC is less than 0.15 percent and reduced to 90 days if the BAC is 0.15 percent or more. The seven-month driver’s license suspension for a first of offense of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test is reduced from seven months to one year to 90 days under the bill. 

Ignition Interlock Device For First Time Offenders

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; 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. 

Under the bill, installation of an IID would be mandatory for first-time offenders and would be 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; for a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher but less than 0.15 percent, the installation period is six months to one year; and for a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher the installation period is one year to 18 months.

Under the bill, drivers with multiple convictions of drunk driving or refusing the breathalyzer would be required to install the IID on each motor vehicle they own or operate. 

Requirements Before Removing The Interlock Device

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 driver is required to certify 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 driver also is to certify 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 driver has to certify that he or she 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. 
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at (609) 256-4098.

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