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A big change to state DUI laws is coming

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2019 | Drunk Driving |

This summer, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 824 into law. This new law significantly revises New Jersey’s current DUI laws and restructures the penalties of DUIs.

Here is a brief overview of these changes that all New Jersey drivers should understand.

Penalties for DUIs will change by 2020

The new law does not eliminate penalties. For example, individuals faced with DUI charges will still have to pay significant fines. They might even still face jail time, depending on the circumstances.

These changes will only have two primary effects for New Jersey individuals charged with a DUI:

  1. Drivers will be able to keep their driver’s license: Currently, individuals charged with a DUI must surrender their driver’s license. Given the considerable consequences this can have on someone’s life, lawmakers aimed to decrease license suspension and revocation.
  2. However, they will be required to install an ignition interlock device: Before, the law only required individuals to use ignition interlock devices (IIDs) after multiple DUIs. Now, almost anyone facing DUI charges, including a first-time offense, will have to use one. This is generally because state lawmakers agree with many studies that report IIDs are more effective in preventing accidents and drunk driving than suspending licenses.

The new law will go into effect on January 1.

What should you know about IIDs?

Avoiding license suspension is good news for many drivers on New Jersey roads. After all, under this new law, individuals can still drive and continue with their daily lives.

However, individuals must ensure they understand the details of how IIDs work before this law goes into effect. Most people know that IIDs require drivers to submit a breath test whenever they get behind the wheel. And if their breath tests positive for alcohol, the car will not start.

Some other factors that individuals should also know include:

  • They will likely have to pay for the installation and use of the IID;
  • Failing to install the device could still result in license suspension;
  • Failing the IID breath test more than four times will lock the driver out completely, and the manufacturer will have to unlock the device; and
  • Depending on the circumstances of the DUI, individuals might have to use the IID from six months up to three years.

Regardless of these changes, it is still critical for individuals facing a DUI to fight the charges against them and protect their future.



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