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Locked Out for Drunk Driving

Research by the New Jersey Law Revision Commission found that some drivers convicted of DUI offenses continue to drive, despite having their driving privileges suspended.  Although New Jersey has some of the most stringent penalties for those convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, some of the sanctions imposed have been criticized as being ineffective in stopping repeat offenses. These include:

  • Fines
  • Driver’s license suspensions
  • Jail
  • Community service

The Commission has suggested that ignition interlocks should be increasingly used as an alternative sanction to license suspensions, as they are more effective in preventing repeat drunk driving offenses.

Proposed extension of use of ignition interlocks

An ignition interlock works by disabling the vehicle’s engine until a clear breath test is carried out by the driver. If alcohol is detected, the car will not start. Some devices require further breath tests at regular intervals during a journey to preclude drivers from starting a car when sober and then driving while drinking en route.

Some critics argue that interlocks have limited utility. One argument is that offenders are still able to drive other peoples’ vehicles that don’t have these devices installed, and that it is far too easy to have someone else blow into the device in order to make the car operable. In addition, ignition interlock devices only detect alcohol, so they are not effective at stopping drivers who are under the influence of drugs.

Interlocks are currently used as a sanction for repeat offenders and drivers convicted of drunk driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more. S-2427, a bill which passed the New Jersey State Senate this past June with a vote of 34 to 2, imposes the use of ignition interlock devices on first time offenders convicted for driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 or more. The bill also extends the time period for which an offender must maintain the device.

If you have been stopped for a DUI offense, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. The law firm of Hoffman DiMuzio represents drivers in Southern and Central New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Publication approved by Peter J. Bonfiglio, III, Esq., Associate of Hoffman DiMuzio

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