Drunk driving is a serious traffic offense with major ramifications that can affect your ability to work, socialize and manage family activities. New Jersey law has become stricter and more forgiving in how authorities enforce driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). This could impact when you might be able to return to the road and move forward.
A new law that went into effect Dec. 1, 2019, mandates all offenders, including those convicted of DUI for the first time, install ignition interlock devices to resume driving. New Jersey is the 34th state to authorize interlock technology that requires drivers to blow a dry breath sample to start their vehicle.
The New Standards
It is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. The new law reduced driver’s license suspensions for first-time offenders arrested with a BAC lower than 0.15%. It also made interlock ignitions mandatory for all defendants. The length of time motorists must use the device depends on their BAC:
● .08 to 0.10%. Driver’s license suspension until ignition interlock installed. Interlock required for three months.
● .10 to 0.15%. Driver’s license suspension until ignition interlock installed. Interlock required for seven months to one (1) year.
● .15% or higher. Driver’s license suspension for a period of four to six months and ignition interlock installed for a period of nine to 15 months after license restoration.
License suspensions are distressing. They can prevent people from working and supporting their family. Advocates and lawmakers designed the reforms to educate motorists and help those arrested for DUI still take care of their families. There are other ways to guard your license and defend yourself against DUI charges.
Under the new law, a drunk-driving arrest can still cost you your freedom and your license. You can face jail time and hefty fines. But you have rights to protect and the authorities have procedures they must follow to prove you did something illegal. There are questions to consider after your arrest.
Did the police officer have a good reason to pull you over? Was the Breathalyzer up to standards and properly administered? Were you interrogated while in custody without being told you have the right to an attorney?
DUI laws are complex and are continually evolving. The stakes are too high not to scrutinize your arrest, New Jersey’s new rules and how they could impact your daily life. It might help to design a defense strategy that analyzes the law, challenges evidence, holds the prosecution to its burden and provides a pathway to the best possible solution.