In December 2019, the state of New Jersey approved updates to its DUI legislation that will require all offenders to install ignition interlocking devices in their vehicles regardless of whether this is their first, second or third DUI charge. It also brings changes to license suspension rules and required jail time.
The most significant change comes for first-time offenders who presented a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.15% or lower. These drivers will no longer have their licenses suspended, but will be required to install an interlocking device and keep it in their vehicle for up to a year once they are convicted. License suspensions of up to six months still apply for drivers whose BAC tested above 0.15%. In this case, the interlocking ignition device will be required to remain in the vehicle for an additional 9 to 15 months.
What Are The New Penalties for Second and Third DUI Offenders?
For a second time, those accused of a DUI are now subject to losing their license for one year. The reduction in license suspension length comes at a price – convicted drivers are now required to keep an interlocking device in their vehicle for a minimum of two and a maximum of four years.
A third DUI now results in an 8-year license suspension period in addition to the mandatory installation of an interlocking device. The device must be kept in the vehicle for two to four years. In addition, the offender will also be required to serve six months in the County Jail.
How Does an Ignition Interlocking Device Work?
An I.I.D. (Ignition Interlocking Device) is essentially an in-car breathalyzer that prevents a user from starting his or her vehicle until a breath test is taken. The vehicle will only start if a driver’s breath tests under the preset limit.
In New Jersey, I.I.D.s are required to keep a vehicle from starting if the driver’s BAC is at or above 0.05%. The device is professionally installed following a judge’s orders, and drivers must have it serviced periodically. Drivers are also responsible for installation and maintenance expenses.
What Will Happen to Drivers Who Refuse to Submit to a Breath Test By The New Law?
Drivers who refuse to undergo a breath test for the first time will no longer give up their licenses. Instead, the interlocking device will be required to be installed and kept in the vehicle for a minimum of nine months and a maximum of fifteen months. For a second or third offense, drivers will be subject to penalties similar to those for second and third DUIs, minus the required jail time.
If you face DUI charges in New Jersey, you need a team of skilled Jersey City criminal defense attorneys on your side. Our firm has dealt with countless cases and has been able to assist clients charged with DUIs to obtain favorable outcomes. Contact us at 201-798-4024 as soon as possible to review your case.