On Thursday February 5, 2015, the New Jersey Senate approved a bill that would drastically change New Jersey’s DUI laws (N.J.S. 39:4-50). The bill already passed the Assembly in June and is now going to Governor Chris Christie for his signature. He has promised to give the law extensive review in the next 45 days.
How does the bill change the law?
- For most people convicted of a first time DUI their license suspension would be lessened. Instead of the current three (3) to twelve (12) month, the suspension would only be for 10 days;
- In order to that, the driver would need to install an ignition interlock device (forces you to give a breath sample before the car will start) on their vehicle which costs approximately $100 per month;
- If defendant is convicted of having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 to .10 (a Tier I offense) they would have to install the device for three (3) months;
- If defendant is convicted with a BAC of .10 to .15 (Tier II) the device would have to be installed for seven (7) to twelve (12) months. Under present law, a Judge can already order the ignition interlock device at his discretion. Installation would now be mandatory;
- If defendant is convicted with a BAC over .15 present law makes the installation mandatory during the period of their license suspension (seven (7) to twelve (12) months) and for six (6) to twelve (12) months, for a total of 13 to 24 months. The proposed law allows them to petition to reinstate their license after 90 days, as long as they have installed the ignition interlock device and keep it on for seven (7) to twelve (12) months after restoration, for a total of ten (10) to fifteen (15) months.
- Second time offenders presently lose their license for two (2) years. The Judge in his or her discretion will now be able to suspend defendant’s license for up to four (4) years.
A DUI will be more expensive:
Here are the long-term consequences:
- Fines can be up $1500;
- Ignition interlock can cost $ 200 instalation and $100 month maintenance, this can be thousands but typically for a first offense between $500 and $1700;
- Surcharge minimum of $3,000 divided over three years;
- Insurance premiums can more than double for the next three years; and
- Immigration consequences. You may not be able to get your citizneship. You may not qualify for legal status or lose your status if convicted.
This can easily be $7,000 to $10,000 depending on the circumstances. This bill just increased those costs significantly. For many the inability to pay the fines can be worse than the DUI itself. For example, someone who doesn’t pay for his or her surcharge will get their license suspended (which this law is supposed to ameliorate) if they get pulled over they may wind up in jail because of enhanced penalties for driving with a suspended license (N.J.S. 39:3-40) because of a DUI.
If you are charged with a DUI you need to know your options before going to court. On this page you will see an offer for my books, click the link, put your name and contact information and we will give you these books free:
- Arrested for Drunk Driving? Learn how to Beat the Odds – Here I discuss defense strategies, and common mistakes I see other attorneys make in defending these complicated cases. I also list for your question you should ask any attorney that you interview for your defense.
- Why Pleading Guilty to Your New Jersey Traffic Ticket is NOT an Option – Here I discuss court process and violations, including DUI’s. There lots of case examples here.
- An Immigrant’s Guide to Municipal Court. This discusses specificlly what you will encounter in Municipal Court if you aren’t a U.S. citizen and how it can result in removal proceedings in Immigration Court. I define important terms and guide you through the Municipal Court and Immigration Court process.
If you have DUI or Traffic offenses questions, we have answers. You can,
- Call 888-695-6169 to speak to our knowledgeable staff;
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We help DUI defendants, one court case at a time.