A New Jersey Senate Bill (No. 824) was proposed regarding new DWI Law. This new law would revise the penalties for drunk driving and ignition interlock device (IID) violations. This bill, which is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari and Co-sponsored by Senators Cardinale and Diegnan would decrease the current penalties that are in place. Under the current law, the period of a driver’s license suspension for a first DWI offense is based on the offender’s Blood Alcohol Contect (BAC), meaning if the offender’s BAC is .08% or higher, but less than .10%, the suspension period would be three (3) months. If the offender’s BAC IS .10% or higher, the suspension period would seven (7) months to one (1) year.
The proposed bill would reduce the suspension period for first time offenders with a BAC of between .08% and .10% to thirty (30) days, first time offenders with a BAC higher that .10% would be reduced to fourty-five (45) days. If the BAC is less than .15% the suspension period would be reduced to 90 days and if the BAC is .15% or higher. The suspension period for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test would be reduced from seven (7) months to a year to 90 days.
Regarding the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID), currently, it is discretionary for first time DWI offenders whose BAC is under .15%, but if the Court orders the installation, Motor Vehicle will install it for six (6) months to one (1) year following the license suspension. First time offenders whose BAC is .15% or higher are required to install an IID in the motor vehicle they principally operate during the suspension period in addition to six (6) months to one (1) year following the suspension. Offenders who refuse to submit to a breath test are required under the current law to have an IID installed during the period of license suspension and six (6) months to one (1) year following the suspension.
Under the proposed bill, the installation of an IID would be mandatory for first time offenders and would be required during the license suspension, as well as following the license suspension, however for first time offenders whose BAC is .08% or higher but less than .15% the installation period is three (3) to six (6) months. For a BAC of .10% or higher but less than .15%, the installation period is six (6) months to one (1). Year; and for a BAC of .15% or higher, the installation period is one (1) year to 18 months. Under the law, drivers with multiple convictions for DWI or refusing to submit to a breathalyzer would be required to install the IID on each motor vehicle the own or operate.
The current law provides for a one (1) year driver’s license suspension for failing to install a required IID. The proposed bill increases the suspension to 18 months. Also, the proposed bill would require that drivers could 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 1/3rdof that period certain conditions were met. These conditions include: that the driver must certify that there were no attempts to start the motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher unless a re-test within five (5) minutes indicates a BAC of less than .08%. The driver must also certify that there were no failures to take or pass a test with a BAC of .08% or higher unless a re-test conducted within five (5) minutes indicates a BAC of less than .08%. Lastly, the driver must certify that he or she complied with all maintenance, repair, calibration, monitoring, or inspection requirements related to the IID. The data for the readings of the IID are made to be available to the sentenced person upon request.
If you find yourself in the situation that you are charged with DWI, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to walk you through the process. Alissa D. Hascup is committed to ensuring you get the best possible result for your case. Contact her office for a free consultation about your case. She is available 24/7 at 862-257-1200.