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Proposed New Jersey drunk driving bill awaits Senate approval

A proposed bill that deals with issues surrounding drinking and driving in New Jersey is now ready to be voted on by the State Senate; the bill has both critics and supporters. Under the proposal, first-time convicted drunk drivers who have a blood alcohol level of .15 or lower would be legally allowed to drive after 10 days of their license suspension if they install an ignition interlock device in their primary vehicle.

The bill's proponents believe it will make the roads safer because everyone with an alcohol-related conviction would be required to install the interlock device. Critics believe the ignition interlock plan falls short because the offender is only required to install the device on their personal vehicle; nothing can prevent them from driving someone else's car.

The bill would require that offenders get a 10-day license suspension and have to install the ignition interlock device for three months if they have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher but less than .10. If the offender's blood alcohol level was greater than .10 but less than .15, a 10-day suspension is imposed, and the offenders must use the ignition interlock device for a period of time between 7 months to a year.

There is not a funding provision in place to provide the interlocking devices, which could potentially be unfair to poor residents, according to the bill's critics. Since critics believe that the bill discriminates against people who are in a lower class, it is possible that if an individual receives a DWI conviction, their attorney may choose to seek dismissal of the charges rather than recommend that their client plead guilty.

Source: New Jersey 101.5, "Bill would dramatically change NJ’s drunk driving law Read More: Bill would dramatically change NJ's drunk driving law ", Kevin McArdle , December 31, 2014

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