New Jersey lawmakers are considering expanding the use of ignition interlock devices in cases involving driving under the influence offenses. Under current New Jersey law, ignition interlocks are a potential requirement in cases involving a high blood alcohol content reading among first-time DUI offenses and for repeat DUI offenders.
The new proposal seeks to expand the use of ignition interlocks to nearly all DUI convictions. The proposed legislation would allow a judge to suspend a driver’s privilege to drive in lieu of ordering an interlock device based upon a finding of aggravating factors. Notably, license suspension is an issue that is already associated with New Jersey DUI laws.
The inner workings of how the various provisions of New Jersey’s DUI laws are handled are complex. As the new proposal indicates, the DUI laws are also subject to change as lawmakers seek to increase the penalties and expand the possible consequences of a DUI conviction. DUI defense lawyers may help a person in understanding the potential consequences of a DUI charge, as well as provide a defense to the accusations.
The latest proposal would require that first-time offenders install ignition interlocks for first-time offenses for three to twelve months for offenders who measure 0.08 percent to 0.14 percent BAC. The current law already requires the devices in first-time offenses involving a BAC reading of 0.15 percent or more. The bill received unanimous approval last week in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
An ignition interlock device essentially acts as a portable breath testing machine that is connected to the car’s ignition system. A failed breath test before starting the vehicle with an interlock (which involves a lower reading than the general legal limit to drive) prevents to car from starting. The use of these devices comes with costs, but in some respects the device may allow a person to return to driving sooner than would be allowed under the concept of DUI license suspension laws standing alone.
Source: Atlantic Highlands Herald, “MADD Applauds Ignition Interlocks Legislation for Drunk Drivers,” May 21, 2014