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Changes in drunk driving law sent back to legislature

Some New Jersey residents may know that a bill concerning drunk driving penalties passed both legislative houses but was rejected by Gov. Chris Christie and sent back with revisions. The bill dealt with the length of time an offender's license is suspended in New Jersey and the use of ignition interlock devices.

The bill would have reduced the suspension period for initial offenders to 10 days down from three or more months. While the individual's license is suspended, the bill would have required an ignition interlock device to be placed on the driver's vehicle. This device prevents drivers from operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. Under the proposed legislation, the device would have remained for at least three months.

The governor took issue with the law on several levels. He said that by reducing the amount of time that licenses are suspended, the effectiveness of current regulations would be halted. Instead, he suggested a list of changes to the bill, one of which would continue the current license suspension period while adding an ignition interlock system. This would pertain to first-time offenders with a .08 to .10 BAC level and last for up to six months but not less than three. Currently, initial offenders are obligated to install an ignition interlock system only if their BAC level is above a certain threshold.

License suspension and ignition interlock placement may be a financial burden for some drivers. In some cases, DUI charges may be based on faulty test results. When a driver is charged with drunk driving, a criminal defense attorney can review the evidence to determine if mistakes are made, such as a stop without probable cause or the use of improper test procedures.

Source: NJ.com, "Attempt to change N.J.'s drunken driving law hits roadblock at Christie's desk," Matt Friedman, March 23, 2015

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