Most charges for Driving While Intoxicated and Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test in New Jersey now result in a mandatory requirement for the convicted driver to install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle. Under certain circumstances, New Jersey law does allow Judges the discretion to waive the ignition interlock requirement for first-time offenders, but only if the driver’s blood alcohol content is found to be 0.14% or less. For a driver facing charges of operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.15% or higher, New Jersey law is draconian in imposing the ignition interlock requirement, which then becomes mandatory and cannot be waived by the Judge even for a first-time offender. This same unforgiving standard applies for charges of Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test, and again applies even for a first-time offender. However, in the case of a first-time offender, the Judge does have discretion over how long to impose the mandatory ignition interlock requirement. The length of time that the device is required for a first-time offender can be anywhere from 6 months after the end of the driver’s license suspension, to 12 months (a full year) after the suspension. Much steeper ignition interlock penalties apply for repeat offenders. For a second or subsequent DWI or Refusal conviction, not only does the ignition interlock requirement become mandatory regardless of blood alcohol content, but the time for which the device is required to remain installed on the vehicle also significantly increases to a range of 1-3 years following the driver’s license suspension. Because ignition interlock devices are generally expensive to install and maintain, can be embarrassing both personally and professionally, and make driving your vehicle much more complicated by regularly requiring breath samples while you drive, this mandatory requirement to maintain the device on your vehicle for a term of years can be quite cumbersome. In order to avoid or minimize the hassles and costs that come with being subject to ignition interlock penalties, it is important to retain an experienced DWI defense attorney if you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated in Atlantic County.
NJ DWI Ignition Interlock Device Law
Ignition interlock requirements for alleged DWI offenders in New Jersey are intended to discourage drivers who face DWI charges from driving while intoxicated again. The ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer system that is installed in your vehicle and wired to the vehicle’s ignition, in order to prevent a driver from starting the vehicle if the system identifies a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or greater. The device must be installed and regularly calibrated at certain locations, which are available throughout New Jersey but may still be inconvenient to incorporate into your regular schedule. If you are required to have an interlock device installed on your vehicle, you will have to provide a breath sample each time you start your vehicle, as well as frequently providing additional breath samples while you are driving. If the system detects a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or more, your vehicle will begin honking and flashing its lights in order to announce to anyone else on the roads or nearby, including law enforcement officers, that your vehicle is being operated by an intoxicated driver. New Jersey law prohibits any attempts to tamper with an ignition interlock device, as well as having a passenger provide breath samples for the device, and doing so could subject you to additional harsh penalties including an additional driver’s license suspension or even a jail sentence.
You can find more information regarding ignition interlock requirements in New Jersey on the Ignition Interlock Device Resource Page.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
Because these harsh ignition interlock requirements are so often mandatory in New Jersey DWI cases and can be so costly and cumbersome, if you are facing charges for driving while intoxicated, it is very important to hire a defense attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable regarding New Jersey DWI law. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our powerful legal defense team has years of experience defending drivers in Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Mays Landing, Atlantic City, and throughout Atlantic County. If you are facing charges for a DWI in Atlantic County, please call us at 1-877-450-8301 or e-mail us to arrange your free consultation today.