On August 23, 2019, the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey enacted SB 824 which modified some of the penalties a first-time DUI offender would face when convicted. Generally, when a person is found guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, he or she loses the ability to drive for a specific period of time. This period is determined based an offender’s BAC (blood alcohol content) level at the time of the offense, prior DWI violations, and if there was an accident that resulted in property damage, injuries, or death.
Although lawmakers felt suspending a DUI offender’s driver’s license for a significant period of time was the most effective way of keeping the community safe, the law actually complicated things for both the community and the individuals who had their driving privileges stripped away from them. The fact is, most people rely on their automobiles to get them to and from work, and in return, they are able to provide financially for themselves and their family. When a person does not have access to their vehicle, it puts them in often unmanageable positions.
Also, many DUI offenders would have to violate the law by to work. Unfortunately, this leads to more violations, fines and suspensions. So, rather than continue suspending a DUI offender’s driver’s license for such extensive periods, the Senate and General Assembly of the State of NJ decided to modify the law.
Here are some of the changes SB 824 brings with it that are beneficial to someone who is being convicted of DUI for the first time in Newark, New Jersey:
- If you are a first-time DUI offender and your BAC level is 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10%, or you allowed someone with the same BAC to operate your vehicle, you shall be required to forfeit your right to operate a motor vehicle in the State of New Jersey for a period of 30 days. Before the new law took effect, a driver found guilty of driving under the influence was subjected to losing their driving privileges for three months. The law has not modified the financial consequences a first-time DUI offender in NJ would be subjected to. For example, given your BAC falls within the levels listed above, you would still be required to pay a fine of $250 but no more than $400, serve between 12 to 24 hours in jail, and participate in some sort of alcohol treatment program. The most significant penalty now after SB 824 is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device inside their vehicle for a period of three months and up to six months.
- If you are a first-time DUI offender and your BAC level is 0.10% or higher or you allowed someone to operate your vehicle who had a BAC level of 0.10% or higher, you too will be required to forfeit their right to drive. However, instead of having your driving privileges suspended for seven months and even up to a year, the new law requires you to only surrender your driving privileges for 45 days if your BAC is less than 0.15% and 90 days if your BAC is 0.15% or higher. You will also be subjected to having an ignition interlock device installed inside your vehicle for a period of six months to a year.
Important: As a DUI offender in Newark, NJ, you are required to have the ignition interlock device installed inside your vehicle and provide proof to the court that you complied with the law. These devices do carry an installation fee as well as a monthly fee.
Hiring a DUI Lawyer After Being Charged with Driving Under the Influence in Newark, NJ
Although SB 824 has reduced to the amount of time a DUI offender is subjected to losing their driving privileges, there are still other serious penalties, which is why you do want to consider retaining a Newark, NJ DUI attorney. If you were charged with drunk driving in Essex County, NJ and would like to find out how you can fight your charges and potentially get your penalties reduced, contact The Law Office of Eric M. Mark today to schedule a consultation.
The Law Office of Eric M. Mark is located at:
201 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102