Legislators in New Jersey propose to make ignition interlock installation a mandatory penalty
CRANFORD, NJ – In New Jersey, a legislation has been proposed that would make in mandatory for DUI convicted drivers to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles even if they are convicted for the first time. This legislation would also make installation of ignition interlocks mandatory for those drivers who refuse to take a breathalyzer test.
For repeat DUI offenders and first-time drunk drivers with a BAC level of 0.15 percent, installation of ignition interlock devices is mandatory according to the New Jersey’s DUI laws. The legislation will extend the ignition interlock requirement for all first-time DUI convicted drivers and repeat offenders.
Ignition interlock devices are breathalyzer machines connected with a vehicle’s ignition system, which stop the engine of the vehicle from starting if the BAC level of the vehicle’s driver is more than 0.05 percent.
Current New Jersey’s DUI laws
- In New Jersey, the driving license of first-time DUI offender is suspended for 3 months to 1 year and installation of an ignition interlock device may be required for 6 months to 1 year for the reinstatement of their driving privileges. If the BAC level of a DUI offender is 0.15 percent or more, then the ignition interlock device is required to be installed during the license suspension period.
- The driving license of a first-time offender is suspended for 7 months to 1 year. The license suspension for second-time DUI offenders is 2 years and for the third-time offenders, the license suspensions are 10 years. Installation of an ignition interlock device is required during the license suspension period. For first-time offenders, installation is required for 6 months to 1 year. For second and third-time offenders, installation is required for 1 to 3 years following the reinstatement of driving privileges.
- Driving license of a second-time offender is suspended for 2 years and third-time offender for 10 years. Installation of ignition interlock devices during the license suspension period is necessary for them and for 1 to 3 years following reinstatement of their driving privileges.
The proposed legislation will increase the ignition interlock device penalties and will decrease the license suspensions. The legislation will allow drunk drivers to continue to drive even after their licenses have been suspended.
An early version of the ignition interlock bill was criticized because that law cannot stop those DUI convicted drivers from driving who did not own a vehicle and those offenders would have remained able to use vehicles owned by friends or family members without installing an ignition interlock device. In May 2012, a revised version of the ignition interlock bill was introduced in the state legislature. The bill requires DUI offenders to get a restricted use driver license for the ignition interlock period which will limit them to driving motor vehicles with ignition interlock devices installed in them and they can only drive a motor vehicle for employment-related purposes. It is also specified by the bill that the ignition interlock requirement would be postponed for offenders who did not own or lease their own motor vehicle and would commence only upon the offender’s registration of an owned or leased vehicle.
In February 2013, the ignition interlock bill was reintroduced with revisions. The bill will make the installation of ignition interlock device mandatory for DUI offenders and the bill requires getting a restricted use license within 10 days after being convicted. The restricted license provisions do not apply if a DUI offender does not own or lease a motor vehicle and the DUI offender has to give up all driving privileges for a period of time similar to license suspension.