2019 Revisions to New Jersey DUI Laws
December 1, 2019, brought multiple changes to New Jersey’s DUI/DWI laws, including a much different penalty framework that now emphasizes ignition interlock devices (IIDs) rather than driver’s license suspensions.
Based in Atlantic City, the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty defends people throughout South Jersey who have been accused of drunk driving or driving under the influence. I have represented numerous clients accused of DUI under the new law and I am very familiar with the arguments prosecutors have been using.
As a former Atlantic County prosecutor myself and a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney, it’s safe to say I’ve seen nearly everything when it comes to DUI defense in our region. You can rely on me to make sure you understand the charges against you. I will create a strong defense for your specific situation.
A Welcome Change to Driver’s License Suspension Penalties
As a longtime DUI defense lawyer, one of the hardest parts of my job has been seeing people have their driver’s licenses suspended for DUI, even for a first offense. Finally, and justly the new DUI/DWI law has eliminated driver’s license suspensions for most first-time offenders. After all, people convicted of drunk driving still need to get to work and suspending a driver’s license creates a hardship, which only makes a tough situation worse.
Ignition Interlock Devices Will Be Used in Most Cases
Instead of suspending driver’s licenses, courts will now require the installation of an ignition interlock device, or IID, in the convicted person’s vehicle. IIDs detect alcohol using a breath sample taken from the driver. Before the car will start, the driver must blow into the device. If it detects alcohol, the car won’t start.
The Revised New Jersey DUI Penalties
Anyone convicted of DUI after December 1, 2019, faces several potential penalties, including:
- First DUI – BAC between .08 and 10: 3 months of IID usage but no driver’s license suspension (technically, your license will be suspended for however many days it takes for the IID to be installed, at which point you can drive again).
- First DUI – BAC between .10 and .15: 7-12 months of IID usage but no driver’s license suspension (as outlined in the previous bullet point).
- First DUI – BAC over .15: Driver’s license will be suspended for 4-6 months and an IID must be used during the entire suspension plus 9-15 more months after the suspension ends.
What Are the Revised Penalties for Second-Offense DUI?
Penalties for second offenders include:
- Mandatory license suspension ranging from one to two years.
- Ignition interlock device must be installed both during and following the period of license suspension. This means the Court will order you to install an ignition interlock during the license suspension and for an additional term ranging from two to four years following the license suspension.
What Are the Revised Penalties for Third-Offense and Beyond?
Sentencing for third-time offenders and subsequent offenders includes:
- Mandatory license suspension of eight years.
- An ignition interlock device must be installed during and after the license suspension and must remain installed for an additional period ranging from two to four years after the license suspension is over.
Not All Penalties for a DUI Conviction Have Changed—Speak to a Lawyer
Drivers still face potential jail time—up to 30 days in jail for a first conviction and up to 90 days in jail for a second offense. There’s also the potential for thousands of dollars in fines and fees from the courts and from your insurance company.
It is critical for anyone charged with drunk driving in New Jersey to enlist the help of a skilled DUI defense lawyer. A good attorney may be able to find weaknesses in the case against you and build a strong defense to have the case dismissed or charges reduced.
Drug-Related DUI Penalties Have Not Changed
IIDs are only able to detect alcohol, not drugs. Therefore, people convicted of driving under the influence of drugs (DUI-drugs) will still have their licenses suspended, even for a first-time offense.
Get a Free Consultation with an Atlantic County DUI/DWI Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested for DUI/DWI in Atlantic County or anywhere else in South Jersey, reach out to the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty for help. I offer a free initial consultation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reach me today at my Atlantic City office by calling 609.385.4010 or contact me online. Don’t delay. The sooner you call me, the sooner I can get to work for you.