New Jersey DUI Penalties as of 2019
Several revisions to New Jersey’s drunk driving laws went into effect on December 1, 2019. The main effect of the revisions is the expanded use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) and reduced use of driver’s license suspensions as penalties.
At the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty in Cape May County, I help clients fight DUI/DWI charges in Cape May County, Ocean County and throughout South Jersey. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney and a Former State Prosecutor with more than 35 years of criminal law experience, I have handled thousands of drunk driving cases. You can rely on me to ensure that you are treated fairly under the new DUI laws, and I will work tirelessly to reach a positive outcome for you.
What Is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?
An IID is a device that detects alcohol using a breath sample taken from the driver. A driver gets into the car and blows into the IID. If any alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start.
In New Jersey, IID installation has been required since 2001 for repeat drunk drivers, but not first-time offenders. Before this new law went into effect, first-time offenders were punished with a driver’s license suspension instead.
What Are the Revised Penalties for First-Offense DUI?
Under the new law, if you are charged with drunk driving in New Jersey you now face the following penalties if convicted:
- First-time offender, BAC of .08 to .10: Mandatory IID installed for 3 months; driver’s license suspension only lasts until the IID is installed, meaning suspension can be limited to just a short period until the interlock is installed and a new interlock license is issued.
- First-time offender, BAC of .10 to .15: Mandatory IID installed for 7-12 months; driver’s license will be immediately suspended until the interlock device is installed and a new interlock license is issued.
- First-time offender, BAC higher than .15: Driver’s license suspension of 4-6 months; mandatory IID installed for the entire suspension plus an additional 9-15 months.
What Are the Revised Penalties for Second-Offense DUI?
Penalties for second offenders include:
- Mandatory license suspension ranging from one to two years.
- Ignition interlock device must be installed both during and following the period of license suspension. This means the Court will order you to install an ignition interlock during the license suspension and for an additional term ranging from two to four years following the license suspension.
What Are the Revised Penalties for Third-Offense and Beyond?
Sentencing for third-time offenders and subsequent offenders includes:
- Mandatory license suspension of eight years.
- An ignition interlock device must be installed during and after the license suspension and must remain installed for an additional period ranging from two to four years after the license suspension is over.
What if I Don’t Install the IID?
Expanded use of IIDs is the main goal of the new law. Legislators believe it is better to install an IID on someone’s car than to take away their license because having no license makes it very hard to get to work and perform other important daily tasks.
Because IIDs are critical to the success of the new law, the penalty for failing to install the IID has increased, from a 1-year license suspension to an 18-month suspension.
Drug-Related DUI Convictions Still Lead to License Suspension
Crucially, the law involving driving under the influence of drugs remains unchanged. Those who drive while impaired by drugs, whether legal or illegal, prescription or not, will still face driver’s license suspension if convicted.
A first conviction for DUI-drugs now requires a driver’s license forfeiture of 7 months to 1 year. Ignition interlock devices only detect the presence of alcohol; they cannot detect the presence of drugs, which is why a license suspension is still required for first offenses.
A DUI Conviction Will Still Cost You; An Attorney Can Help
Even though you may no longer face a license suspension upon a DUI conviction, it is important to understand that extensive costs come with that conviction. The costs include everything from serious penalties such as potential jail times to insurance surcharges and increased insurance rates. These can add up $10,000, and that’s just for a first-time offense.
Having an experienced attorney by your side may offer you opportunities to limit those penalties or even get the DUI knocked down or dismissed altogether. If you are at all concerned about the full effects that a DUI conviction will have on your pocketbook, liberties and more, then reach out to my law firm today.
Contact My Law Firm Today for a Free DUI Defense Consultation
I am available any time, day or night, to speak to you about a DUI/DWI charge. I offer a free initial consultation, so it costs you nothing to reach out for help. Call my Marmora office in Cape May County right away at 609.390.4600 or contact me online. I am always ready to hear your story and give you advice based on my 35-plus years of experience.