Repeat DUI Offenses Could Become Fourth Degree Crimes in NJ
Yesterday, the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee voted in favor of increasing repeat penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The bill would make it a fourth-degree crime to drive under the influence more than once in a 60-day period.
That means a person charged with multiple DUIs could face up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine, a significant increase from the “traffic offense” classification that DUI currently has in New Jersey. The bill would also allow for immediate license suspension for those accused of repeat DUI.
The bill will now move to the full Assembly and is also up for discussion with the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
In part, the bill responds to the recent DUI case involving a Vineland man who was charged with five DUIs in five weeks. If passed, individuals such as that man would face fourth-degree criminal charges and other serious consequences before they could get back behind the wheel.
What can you do if you face a second or subsequent DUI in two months? At this point, the bill is still making its way through the legislature and it will be some time before the law goes into effect (if it does). However, having multiple DUIs on your record now can mean serious consequences in the future, loss of driving privileges and other mandatory penalties. Therefore, you can benefit from hiring an experienced DUI defense lawyer to fight your charges.
Remember: You do not have to plead guilty for DUI. You may even have defenses that will allow an attorney to throw out the charges against you.
Source: Associated Press, “NJ lawmakers approve steeper repeat DUI penalties,” Andrew Duffelmeyer, June 7, 2012.