New Jersey DWI and Ignition Interlock Device

New Jersey DWI and Ignition Interlock Device

Being arrested and charged with DWI in New Jersey is a serious traffic offense that can have a wide range of consequences including loss of license, harsh fines, the order to attend alcohol education courses, surcharges, and possible jail time. In New Jersey, ignition interlock devices are required on all DWI convictions involving alcohol. The ignition interlock device is a breath analyzer installed in your car by law that requires the driver to blow and register a blood alcohol content (BAC) before the vehicle starts. In court where there is a conviction for driving while intoxicated an individual's license will be physically taken by the court. In order for the driver to drive again the driver must install an ignition interlock device from a certified installer and Proof must be provided to the Motor Vehicle Commission at a regional office for an interlock-endorsed license to be obtained. Proof must be provided to the Motor Vehicle Commission that the device was installed before driving privileges will be reinstated and your license restored. In a first offense example with a low tier such as .08>.10, the interlock period would be 3 months, but the 3 months doesn't start on the date you turn your license in, it is counted from the date you have the interlock installed. There is usually a short delay between turning in your license and the date a new license is obtained from the Motor Vehicle Commission. Failure to have an interlock device installed when ordered to, could result in an additional driving privileges suspension and other penalties.  As you will need to have the interlock installed and then calibrated regularly, it makes sense to find an installer close to your home or work.

How Does The Ignition Interlock Device Work?

In the event of a DWI conviction in New Jersey, the judge is required to order the installation of what is known as an Ignition Interlock Device on the person's motor vehicle. If there is no alcohol involved and it is a drug-only first offense no interlock device is required. This Ignition Interlock Device is an instrument that is connected to the ignition system and requires that the driver blow into a breathalyzer to determine his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) before being allowed to operate the vehicle. The instrument can detect breath alcohol. If the instrument registers alcohol the vehicle will not start.

The device requires that another breath sample be given periodically while the vehicle is being driven. If another breath sample is not given, the vehicle makes a record of the incident, issues a warning to the driver, and subsequently sets off an alarm by either honking the horn or flashing the lights repeatedly until the vehicle has been turned off. The vehicle doesn't automatically turn off but it will let you when you are out of compliance and there could be consequences for the device recording issues. the ignition interlock device measures and saves each breath attempt not blowing properly and not allowing the machine to register a blow will be recorded and sent to the motor vehicle commission. After the interlock term, a final calibration is done and sent to the motor vehicle to release the driver from the program. suppose there are violations for having alcohol on your breath or otherwise not properly operating the instrument it could be sent back to the court as a violation to be considered by the judge. Some clients have complained that mouthwash can affect the machine. In breathalyzer technology alcohol from mouthwash will be detected so it is wise not to use any mouthwash for at least 20 minutes before using your interlock device.

When Will an Interlock Device Be Installed?

A person convicted of a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer will be required to install an ignition interlock device

A person convicted of a DWI in New Jersey, regardless of their number of offenses BAC, will be required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in their car. New Jersey law requires that those convicted of refusing to take a Breathalyzer test will also be required to have the device installed in their car. The driver's blood alcohol content is not learned in a refusal so the law imposes the longer term interlock as it is assumed that the driver chose not to blow to avoid blowing a high BAC which could result in a license suspension.

A person convicted of alcohol DWI shall be required to install an ignition interlock device

Once convicted for either a DWI or Refusal, the person will be subject to a certain time range of Interlock Device usage. For first offenses, the time frame depends on the defendant's BAC. For those at or above 0.08% and less than 0.10%, the device will be required for 3 months, and the defendant's license will be suspended until they have installed one. For BACs at or above 0.10% and less than 0.15%, the time frame is 7 to 12 months, again with the license suspension until installment. People with a BAC at or above 0.15% will be subject to 4 to 6 months of license suspension in addition to 9 to 15 months of Ignition Interlock Device usage upon license reinstatement.

A person convicted of a second offense of DWI for drugs or alcohol shall be required to install an ignition interlock device

For a second DWI defense, the device must be used for 2 to 4 years following a maximum 2-year license suspension.

A person convicted of a third or subsequent offense DWI for drugs or alcohol shall be required to install an ignition interlock device

Those facing a third or subsequent offense will also face 2 to 4 years of usage after 8 years of license suspension. For a refusal conviction, the driver faces 9 to 15 months of required usage for their first offense, and 2 to 4 years for their second, third, and subsequent offenses. License suspension penalties are until installation of the device, 1 to 2 years, and 8 years for first, second, and third offenses, respectively. Failure to have an interlock device installed when ordered by a judge could result in an additional year of driving privileges suspension. There are installation and monthly fees involved with the interlock device that you will also be required to pay. For more information please visit the State Of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website.

Can I reduce my fines by installing the ignition interlock device before court?

The New statute provides that voluntary installation before a court of the interlock will result in a waiver of the fine generally imposed by the court for a DWI.

Can I reduce the length of my license suspension by installing an ignition interlock device before court?

If you are in a position where you are going to lose your license for DWI it may make sense to take advantage of a provision in the New Jersey law that allows a credit against the driver's license suspension period for every two days of interlock device is installed. Let's say you are charged with a second offense DWI or DUI which carries a 1 to 2-year loss of license; before the court, you could install the ignition interlock device in your car and take the steps to notify the motor vehicle of the installation; let's say you have the interlock on for 4 months before the court, you could receive credit for 4 months interlock resulting in 2 months loss of license credit so you would lose your license for 2 months less when you are sentenced. This process will require a couple of trips to the motor vehicle to obtain a pre-conviction installation certificate work order and invoice from the interlock company to MVC. Post-conviction a second trip will be required to get a post-conviction installation certificate. The process of these changes relies upon the interlock providers for the most up-to-date information.

Speak To An Experienced New Jersey DWI Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been charged with DWI in Ocean County or Monmouth County, New Jersey, and are facing the prospect of having an Ignition Interlock Device installed on your vehicle, contact the experienced attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey for legal assistance. We offer a free consultation.

Don't make the mistake of not having legal representation to protect your rights. If you were arrested in Brick, Asbury Park or any other Jersey Shore town, contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. at 732-372-0820 for an evaluation of your case. Know your rights when it comes to a Ignition Interlock Device!