In August 2019, New Jersey Governor Murphy signed Bill S824 which significantly changes the penalties for first-time DWI offenders. The new law will go into effect December 1, 2019. If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated of Alcohol or Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, or Refusing to provide a breath Sample, please call our office at (973)-377-7800 for a free consultation. We are conveniently located in downtown Madison New Jersey.
Because New Jersey is one of the few states that does not have a work exception to a license suspension for DWI, many people are unable to get to work when faced with a long license suspension, causing them to lose their jobs. In an effort to address this, the new law significantly reduces the period of license suspension for first time offenders of both Driving While Intoxicated and Refusing to submit to a breath test.
Although the new law will decrease the period of license suspension, it will make it mandatory for those convicted of a DWI or Refusal to install an Ignition Interlock Device or (IID) in their vehicle.
The Ignition Interlock Device is a small computerized device that records a person’s Blood Alcohol Content, similar to the Alcotest machine used by police. The IID gets installed in the vehicle of someone convicted of driving while intoxicated or refusing a breath sample. The driver is required to blow into the device in order to start the car and must periodically blow into the device while driving, to ensure that the driver’s BAC is below a 0.08%.
Under the new law, the Ignition Interlock Device will be required to be installed in the vehicle principally operated by the offender during and after the period of license suspension. The cost of the installation of the IID will be the responsibility of driver.
WHAT ARE THE NEW DWI/REFUSAL PENALTIES IN NJ?
Under the new law, a first time DWI offender, who has a BAC of between 0.08% and 0.10% will now lose their driver’s license for 30 days, instead of 90 days. A person who falls under this category will be required to pay for and have the IID installed in the vehicle principally operated by them during the 30 day license suspension and for 3 to 6 months after the suspension period. A first time offender will still be required to attend the Intoxicated Drivers Resource Center for 12-48 hours.
If a first time offender’s BAC is 0.10% or higher but less than 0.15% BAC, or the person is convicted of driving under the influence of drugs, the driver’s license suspension is reduced from 7 months to 45 days and they must install the IID during the suspension and for 6 months to 1 year after the suspension period.
If the first offender’s BAC is 0.15% or higher, there is a 90 day license suspension. Also, the IID must be installed during the 90 day suspension and after the suspension for 1 year to 18 months.
If someone is convicted for the first time of Refusing to Provide a Breath Sample (39:4-50.4a) the license suspension is reduced from the current 7-12 months to a period of 90 days. That person is required to install the IID during the 90 day suspension and for 6 months to 1 year following the suspension.
The new law does not change the license suspension period of a second or subsequent DWI offender, but it now requires anyone convicted of a second or more DWI or Refusal to install an IID in each motor vehicle principally owned or operated, or both, by the offender during the license suspension and after the expiration of the license suspension for 1 to 3 years.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I’M CHARGED WITH A DWI OR REFUSING TO SUBMIT TO A BREATH TEST IN NEW JERSEY?
Although this new law will reduce the period of license suspension, there are still serious consequences for a DWI conviction and the addition of the new requirement of the Ignition Interlock Device can be expensive. It is important that you consult with an experienced DWI attorney, as there may be possible defenses to your charges. Please contact us at (973)-377-7800 to further discuss your case.