Recently, the New Jersey Assembly has proposed to change the penalties associated with Driving While Intoxicated or DWI in Cherry Hill and in all of New Jersey. Lawmakers are proposing that for first-time DWI offenses, instead of suspending drivers’ licenses, drivers will immediately have an ignition interlock device installed on their cars. This ignition interlock device will prevent drivers from operating the car if they blow into the device and it registers at least .05 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). That threshold is lower than the .08 percent BAC, which constitutes the legal DWI limit in New Jersey.
Additionally, the proposal includes that if the offender regularly registers even as low as .02 percent or .03 percent that the results are sent back to the New Jersey courts and further adjustments to the offender’s sentence could be made.
This change is supported by the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving since research in some states show that immediately installing the ignition interlock device at the first offense is associated with a reduction in crash fatalities that involve intoxication. Some of these reductions were as much as 50 percent where other states saw a reduction by about 30 percent to 40 percent.
A recent study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found a lower reduction in fatal crashes at seven percent when the ignition interlock is required in all cases. Even if that is the case, it is still an improvement over the two percent reduction that is seen in states like New Jersey where currently the ignition interlock is only required in some cases.
For first offenses, New Jersey licenses are currently suspended for three to seven months depending on the driver’s blood alcohol content. Some lawmakers are in favor of the ignition interlock instead of the license suspension since it allows offenders to drive to work every day while also complying with the penalty. This is crucial because when offenders are dependent upon their driver’s licenses to get to work then they may lose their jobs. This can lead to a downward spiral which causes depression and possibly even more drinking. If offenders can still get to work, as long as the ignition interlock permits them to operate the car, the thinking is that drivers may be less likely to have a second DWI offense.
If the new law is passed, offenders will likely have to pay to have the ignition interlock installation and the monitoring cost. The cost is approximately $70 for the installation and $70 per month for the monitoring. This money would go to a company that is contracted for those purposes and it would not go directly to the state.
If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated in South Jersey, you need the best possible legal representation and an attorney who has the up-to-date knowledge of DWI legislation. Contact the Law Offices of Michele Finizio to ensure the best representation. Our offices are located in Moorestown, New Jersey and we serve all South Jersey residents, in Camden County, Gloucester County, and Burlington County. Contact us online or call now 609-230-0374 to speak with one of our Cherry Hill DWI lawyers