What you need to know about the new DUI Laws in New Jersey
Article Written by Nathan J. Mammarella, Esq
In December, 2019, New Jersey’s DUI laws were amended to limit driver’s license suspension and require mandatory periods of ignition interlock devices. Under New Jersey’s DUI laws, if convicted of a first offense Driving While Intoxicated with a Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) of less than .15%, an individual will only lose their license until they successfully install the court ordered ignition interlock device on their primary motor vehicle.
Furthermore, if convicted of DUI while having a BAC of .10% but less than .15%, the Court must order a mandatory seven (7) month ignition interlock device. If convicted of a DUI with less than a .10% BAC or a conviction based on an officer’s observations, this ignition interlock device is only required to be installed for a period of three (3) months. Learn more about New Jersey DUI penalties.
Importantly, the interlock device time period does not begin tolling until the actual device is installed. For example, if an individual does not get the interlock device installed on their motor vehicle until a year after their suspension is imposed, they still must keep the interlock device on their vehicle for the full length of time required. If ordered to have the interlock remain on their vehicle for seven (7) months, that seven (7) month period will not be lowered because they waited a year and accepted a long-term license suspension. As such, it is imperative that defendants convicted of DUI install the interlock device on their vehicle as soon as possible.
What if I no Longer Own A Vehicle?
If convicted of a DUI, even if a defendant does not have access to motor vehicle, they will not be able to have their driving privileges restored until they acquire a vehicle and install the ignition interlock device on it. Up until that point, they will remain suspended. However, under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.17, an eligible defendant who attests to the Court that they do not have possession of a motor vehicle can be excused for the interlock device requirement. Instead, that time period will be converted to a period of license forfeiture.
New Jersey’s DUI laws are complex and have lasting consequences. If you or a loved one is charged with DUI/DWI, vehicular assault, hit and run or vehicular homicide, contact us at (609) 216-7400. The attorneys at Rosenberg Perry, & Associates are experienced DUI defense attorneys that will fight for you.