A1368 May Overhaul DUI Punishment In NJ
- May 19, 2015
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A1368 is a NJ bill, proposed by the Assembly, which could revise the NJ drunk driving statute, N.J.S.A 39:4-50. The bill was approved by the Assembly and Senate and currently under revision pursuant to comments by Governor Chris Christie. If accepted the new statute would permit those convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) to avoid long-term loss of driving privileges by having an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. First-offenders with a blood alcohol level (BAC) between .08 and .10% will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed for 3 months and those with .10 to .15% BAC readings would require 7 to 12 months with an ignition device. First-offenders with a .15% BAC or higher would lose their driving privileges for 7 to 12 months but, after 90 days, could make application to the court for an ignition interlock device. In any case, if the court determined there were too many aggravating factors including “circumstances of the offender’s conduct”, prior driving record, how long the offender has been licensed, or indicators of a substantial risk of re-offending, the current method of license suspension for a specified period between 3 and 12 months rather than ignition interlock device installation would be applicable. In the case of a first-offender with a BAC of .10 to .15%, if they do not own, lease or principally operate a vehicle and no ignition interlock may be installed, their driving privileges will simply be forfeited for 7 to 12 months. First-offenders with BAC levels of .15% or greater who do not own, lease or principally operate a vehicle will lose their driving privileges for 7 to 12 months for DUI and a consecutive 7 to 12 months making their suspension period as long as they would have been required to maintain an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. For a second driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge, the suspension would be for a period of 2 to 4 years rather than the current 2 year period. Additionally, an interlock device would be required on the person’s vehicle for the entire suspension period as well as thereafter. For a third or subsequent DUI, suspension would increase from the current 10 year period to a period of 10 to 20 years. Those convicted of refusal to provide a breath sample (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2) in the case of second and subsequent events will also face these same suspension periods and interlock device requirements. This bill forgives first-offenders and provides them with opportunity to maintain their livelihood while preventing them from harming others through future instances of driving while intoxicated. Additionally, it is designed to send a strong message to drivers that re-offenders will be punished severely by long-term suspensions, additional expense of an ignition interlock device for an extended term, substantial fines and jail time. If passed, this bill will substantially alter the futures of those convicted of DUI. If you are charged with DUI, you need experienced defense counsel to protect your rights. For more information about DWI, refusal to submit to breath tests, driving while suspended for DUI, driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and other serious driving charges in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.