For New Jersey residents who have the bad habit of jumping behind the wheel after having a few drinks, there may be some changes to the state’s DUI enforcements coming soon. On December 16, a state assembly panel advanced a bill which would require anyone convicted of drinking and driving to install an ignition interlock device in their cars. The device requires a driver to take a breath test before the car will start. If the device detects alcohol, it prevents the car from starting.
Currently, New Jersey’s interlocking ignition device law applies to repeat and first time offenders whose BAC is at .15 or higher. A NJ driver is considered drunk with a BAC of .08 or higher.
Proponents and Opponents of the Proposed Bill Sound Off
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) claims that the device is a good way to keep other drivers safe, while the DUI offender learns to alter his or her habits. Because it affects a drinker’s lifestyle, it could keep offenders from becoming repeat offenders.
Parties against the proposed bill are attacking its ambiguity, claiming it’s difficult to enforce, and its lack of range in detecting potential intoxicants. One issue is that the device would only be required to be installed on the primary vehicle, and that the offending party could just as easily drive someone else’s car. Another problem is that the device would only test for alcohol, but not other potential intoxicants such as marijuana, cocaine or other recreational or prescription drugs. Lastly, there is no provision in the bill which addresses the monitoring of those devices in cars.
In the end, the idea is to make the penalties for drinking and driving so severe that people will be deterred from getting behind the wheel after a few brews. The proposed bill would certainly take a step in that direction, but will likely undergo a few tweaks before it’s ever enacted.
If you’ve been involved in a DUI or DWI in New Jersey, you could be facing some severe penalties. Contact the experienced defense attorneys at Team Law and start building your defense today. Call us to schedule your free consultation at (732) 388-5454.