July 31, 2013, Newark- In 2011, New Jersey law enforcement agencies arrested approximately 26,206 drivers who they suspected were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, data from the Century Council shows. To state lawmakers this is an alarming statistic, and they are currently considering a law that will make penalties for people convicted of their first DUI even tougher.
S.B. 2427 passed in the Senate in late June with a 34-2 majority, but it won’t become law until members of the Assembly vote on the bill. Should the bill be signed into law, it would make it mandatory for individuals, who are convicted of their first DUI, to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Currently, only first offenders who’s BAC is .15 or higher are required to install the device.
Lawmakers believe making ignition interlock devices mandatory will help crackdown on repeat DWI offenders. MADD estimates that the recidivism rate for DUI offenders is approximately 67 percent.
Morris, Monmouth and Ocean Counties have the highest rates of DWI arrests each averaging 37 to 38 arrests for every 10,000 residents. In Essex County there is an average of 12 DWI arrests for every 10,000 residents. That averages to 333 DWI arrests each year in Newark alone.
The Ignition interlock device is a breath test machine that is directly connected to the ignition of a convicted driver’s vehicle. Before the driver can even start his or her vehicle they must blow into the device and register a 0.00 blood alcohol content or the vehicle won’t start.
Under the proposed legislation, first offenders with a BAC of.10 and below would have to use ignition interlocks for a period of 3 to 6 months. First offenders with a BAC above .10 would have the devices for 7 to 12 months. People who have been convicted of their second DUI would be required to have the devices for two to four years, and third-time offenders could be required to have the devices for 10 to 20 years.
The ignition interlock devices would be a requirement in addition to the current penalties DUI which are strict and costly. A conviction exposes the offender to a driver’s license suspension of up to one year, and possible jail time. Offenders also face thousands of dollars in fines from the court and surcharges to the State and the Motor Vehicle Commission.
When a sentence requires installation of an ignition interlock device, the offenders must pay to have the device installed, along with a monthly rental and recalibration fee. When you total the financial penalties, ignition interlock costs, and increased insurance premiums, DWI convictions can cost the offender over $9,000 so it’s critical the offender hire a Newark DWI attorney to represent them in court.
The stakes are high with a DUI arrest; a suspected offender risks losing personal freedoms and a great deal of money. On top of that, a DUI conviction stays on your criminal history forever; this can affect numerous aspects of your life, from education to employment.
As a practiced attorney, my goal is to stop prosecutors from securing a DUI conviction. I will work diligently to build a strong DUI defense on your behalf by evaluating all the circumstances of your arrest and question the results of the sobriety tests.
I am determined to defend your rights and provide you with a highly effective defense. If you need help with any DWI-related issues contact my Newark office to set up a consultation.