What should I know about New Jersey’s new drunken-driving law?

New Jersey enacted a law requiring all motorists convicted of a DWI charge to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. As reported by northjersey.com, if you are a first-time offender, you must install an IID that will remain connected to your vehicle’s ignition controls for at least three months. 

With an IID installed, your vehicle will not start until you blow into the device. If the machine detects that you have a blood alcohol content of 0.05% or more, the IID prevents the car from starting. You will then need to wait until you can blow into the device again and show a lower BAC in order for your vehicle to start. 

Under the Garden State’s new law, motorists convicted of a DWI offense for the first time and with a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15% must install an IID for at least three months but no more than one year. First-time offenders may, however, reinstate their driver’s license after a conviction and it will remain active for the duration of their IID sentence. If an individual convicted for a first-time DWI had a BAC of more than 0.15%, he or she must have an IID installed for anywhere between nine and 15 months. 

Prior to December 1, 2019, first-time offenders only had their driver’s license suspended. Many individuals, however, continued to drive. While most individuals drove their car only to get to work, many reportedly also drove while impaired. State lawmakers determined that an IID would prevent repeat drunken-driving offenses better than a license suspension. 

A second or repeat DWI conviction may result in a driver’s license suspension for up to two years. After a license reinstatement, an IID may remain installed on an offender’s vehicle for two to four years. 

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