The NJ State Legislature is considering a new piece of legislation that would radically alter New Jersey’s policy regarding driving under the influence (DUI) charges.
The bill was introduced last year and received unanimous approval from the State Assembly Judiciary on December 16. It is now in the process of being transferred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
At present, the NJ Criminal Code subjects persons convicted of DUI offenses in New Jersey to mandatory license suspensions that range from three (3) months to 10 years. For example, first-time offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.08% and 0.10% may face a license suspension of up to one (1) year. A person convicted of a third offense DUI with a BAC above 0.08% may have his or her license suspended for up to 10 years.
The new legislation would eliminate the mandatory license suspension for a DUI conviction. Instead, persons convicted of a DUI would have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. An ignition interlock device prevents a drunk driver from starting the vehicle’s engine because the driver must first blow into the device and test his or her BAC. Until the driver blows a clean breath test sample, the ignition is disabled.
The NJ Criminal Code currently requires only certain individuals to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle: defendants convicted of refusal to submit to a breath test, defendants convicted of a second or third offense DUI, and defendants convicted of a DUI with a BAC of 0.15% or higher.
Reports indicate that more than 35,000 people are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in New Jersey annually. If the proposed legislation is passed, it could significantly impact residents in Morris County, including people in Morristown, Parsippany, Dover, Denville, and Roxbury.
To learn more about the proposed legislation, see the NorthJersey.com article entitled “DWI Legislation Would Replace Drunken Driving Suspensions with Ignition Locks.“