In 2010, New Jersey became the 34th state in the country to require the installation of ignition interlock devices for some DUI offenders. A new state law that went into effect in late 2019 expands the ignition lock requirement to all first-time offenders. Proponents of the law hope that it will act as a deterrent to drunk driving.
Wide support for the legislation
Both representatives of New Jersey police departments and for Mothers Against Drunk Driving pushed for the law to pass. As part of the new law, first-time offenders may no longer have their licenses suspended for slightly elevated blood alcohol levels that fall between .08% and .10%. This will allow first-time offenders to still fulfill work and family obligations while reducing the risk that they will operate a vehicle while drunk. Businesses will have the responsibility to install the devices in vehicles operated by those who have been convicted of a DUI.
Lowering rates of drunk driving
Analysts hope that the ignition interlock devices along with the promotion of ride-share services, community education and DUI checkpoints may help decrease the number of drunk driving accidents. Local police also praised citizens who help police by videotaping and calling in erratic driving incidents. Law enforcement officers often use this information to find DUI offenders.
Defending against DUI charges
If you’ve been accused of a DUI, you have certain rights during the criminal justice process. An experienced DUI lawyer can help prevent these rights from being violated. It is important that police are trained in how to properly administer drunk driving tests. If they aren’t properly trained, the test may be invalid and might be inadmissible in court. For example, an individual who was pulled over for erratic driving may be charged with a DUI after their blood alcohol level was analyzed with a breath test. A lawyer might be able to show that the officer who administered the breath test was not properly trained. This may result in the test being dismissed. Without any other proof of the defendant being intoxicated, the charges might then be reduced or dismissed.