A newly-proposed bill by New Jersey legislators would change the consequences of a DWI conviction for first-time offenders specifically relating to their future driving privileges and the installation of ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.
An ignition interlock device is a small device that can be installed in your car that checks your blood alcohol content (BAC) before it allows you to operate your car. You must blow into the device and if your BAC is above a certain percentage, it will disable your vehicle and you will not be able to start your engine.
Currently, DWI offenders face the following consequences in regard to their driving privileges and ignition interlocks:
- First-time offender with a blood alcohol content (BAC) less than 0.15 percent = license suspension for three months and a judge has the discretion to require an ignition interlock device following suspension, though it is not mandatory.
- First-time offender with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher = license suspension for seven months and an ignition interlock is required during the suspension period as well as up to one year after getting your license reinstated.
- Multiple offenses = suspension period depends on the number of prior convictions but ignition interlocks are mandatory during the suspension period and up to three years after license reinstatement.
The proposed law would make ignition interlock devices mandatory for every DWI offender, even if it is a first offense with a lower BAC. However, because an ignition interlock device works to prevent drunk driving, the law also proposes that the period of suspension be reduced to 30 days for a first offender with a lower BAC, as well as to 45 days for a first offender with a higher BAC.
There are pros and cons to shortening suspension periods in favor of mandatory ignition interlock devices. First, it will allow you to get to work, school, and other important obligations much easier. However, there are also costs and obligations associated with ignition interlock devices for which you will be responsible. We will keep a close watch on this legislation and inform you of any new developments in DWI laws in New Jersey.
Call 732-238-8686 today for more information.
David C. Barry, Attorney at Law works to protect the rights of those accused of DWI and help them limit the consequences they face as much as possible. If you have been arrested in New Jersey, please call our DWI defense attorney for assistance with your case today.