Ignition Interlocks are Now Required in Most New Jersey DWI Convictions

Smart_Start blow.jpgIf you are convicted of a first offense New Jersey DWI/DUI, and you blew 0.15% or higher, or if you are a second or greater alleged New Jersey DWI/DUI offender, you will have to install an ignition interlock device on the car you primarily drive, if you are convicted.

If you are convicted of Refusing to Submit to Breath Testing, first offense included, you must install an interlock. So, even on a first offense, where you are charged with the DWI, where there is no reading, if you are convicted of the Refusal, you must install the interlock for 6 – 12 months.

This adds a significant expense to any conviction, as you must pay to install, maintain, and remove the ignition interlock device.

That is why it is important to determine all defenses to the charges against you. For example, in a first offense New Jersey DWI case, if the breath test reading can be suppressed or excluded from evidence, then you will not be ordered to install an ignition interlock device. In a first offense refusal case, if the refusal can be dismissed, then the ignition interlock device will not be an issue that you will have to deal with.

The law also requires that a convicted offender must install the ignition interlock device during the period of suspension. This means that on a first offense, you must install the interlock during your 7 – 12 month suspension, and you must have the device installed for 6 -12 months once you get your license back.

Very few drivers have been installing the interlock during their suspension period, because there has been no way to track compliance. However, the convicted driver must install an interlock and show proof of installation in order to get his/her license from the Motor Vehicle Commission.

Ignition Interlocks must be installed as follows:

  • First Offense DWI – 0.15% or higher – during the 7 – 12 month suspension period, and for 6 – 12 months upon license restoration. The range of 6 -12 months is determined by the judge at the time of sentencing.
  • First Offense Refusal – same as above – during the suspension period, and for 6 – 12 months after the license restoration.
  • Second Offense DWI/DUI and second offense Refusal – during the 2 year suspension period, and for 1 – 3 years upon license restoration. The 1 – 3 year period is determined by the judge at the time of sentencing.
  • Third or greater DWI/DUI and Refusal charges – during the 10 year suspension period, and for 1 – 3 years upon license restoration. The 1 – 3 year period is determined by the judge at the time of sentencing.

To avoid installation of an ignition interlock device you must successfully challenge the DWI/DUI and/or Refusal charges against you.