A New Jersey Bill Authorizing Ignition Interlocks for First-Time DWI Offenders Advances
On Monday, January 28, 2013, a New Jersey Senate panel approved a bill making installation of ignition interlock devices the main penalty in most drinking driving cases. The interlock device would supercede the license suspension as the main penalty for most offenders.
First time DWI offenders would be allowed to continue driving with an ignition interlock device which prevents a vehicle from starting unless the operator blows a clean breath sample into. Second or subsequent DWI would need a restricted use license that would allow work-related or other travel set by a judge for at least the first year the interlock device is in place.
Ricci’s Law was signed into action by Gov. John Corzine in January 2010 which mandated an installation of ignition interlocks in certain DWI cases. That law required first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of more than .15%, and those who refused to take a breath test to have an ignition interlock installed for six months after a suspension ends.
The proposed bill would require a first-time DWI offender with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% to a .10% to have an ignition interlock installed on his vehicle for three to six months, rather than a license suspension. A person with no car would face a license suspension for that same period of time. First-time offenders with a BAC of greater than .10% or those who get caught driving the influence of drugs would be required to have the device for seven to twelve months, rather than a license suspension. A person with no car would face a license suspension for the same period.
For second-time offenders, the penalty would require an ignition interlock for two to four years or license suspension for that same period if the offender lacks a car. For a third and subsequent offense, the device would remain in place for 10 to 20 years. People with no car would have their license suspended for the same period.