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What changed with the new DWI law in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2020 | Drunk Driving |

New Jersey’s new law on drunk driving took effect on Dec. 1st of 2019. This law eliminates driver’s license suspension for first offense DWI convictions, depending on the severity of the offense. Furthermore, this law also reduces the duration of suspension for second and third convictions. This law dramatically changes the way New Jersey looks at DWI convictions.

There are many controversial takes on this law, but the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is in full support. The state legislature and Governor Phil Murphy also signed with no disagreement. This law now requires drivers to install ignition interlock devices (IID) in their vehicles. The state has put this measure in place instead of a suspension because it gives the driver the opportunity to rise from their mistake without facing life-changing events such as losing their jobs.

How long does the driver have to have the IID?

For a first offense, the driver is suspended until they can prove that they have installed their IID. For a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 to .10 percent, this device must remain installed for three months. For a driver with a BAC of .10 percent or above, the device must remain in their vehicle for seven to 12 months.

For a second offense, the new New Jersey law reduced the driver’s license suspension to one to two years instead of a firm two years. For a subsequent offense, the suspension has reduced to eight years from 10.

What hasn’t changed?

With this law, the fines, the intoxicated driver’s resource center classes or the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) surcharge has not disappeared. Also, a judge can still sentence you to jail time. This sentence time is typically around 30 days for a first offense and 90 days for a second offense.

There has been a major problem in the past over the way the law handles DUI/DWI offenses. With this law in practice, the governor hopes to see improvements. Many people who make the mistake of drinking and driving wind up paying for it in more ways than the state requires.

Although many were nervous about this change, it keeps drivers off the roads when they’re intoxicated while still retaining their independence. If you or anyone you know needs assistance after an arrest for drunk driving, call 908-643-6801 or contact the Law Offices of Anthony Palumbo for a free initial consultation.



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