The State's driving while intoxicated law, N.J.S.A.39:4-50, and ignition interlock law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.16 et seq., establish the requirements regarding the use of ignition interlock devices for drunk driving offenses. Prior to the enactment of P.L. 2009, c.201, those laws provided that the court may order persons convicted of a first drunk driving offense to install an ignition interlock device for a period of six months to one year commencing immediately after the expiration of the period of license suspension. For persons convicted of a second drunk driving offense, the law required the court to order the installation of an interlock device upon restoration of their driver’s license or, alternatively, to revoke their registration certificate and plates for two years. For third and subsequent convictions, the court was required to order the installation of the device or to revoke the offender’s registration certificate and plates for 10 years. For second and subsequent convictions, the device was required to be installed for not less than one year or more than three years, commencing immediately upon the return of the offender's driver's license. In all cases, the interlock devices were required to be installed on every vehicle “owned, leased or regularly operated” by the offender.
The new law amends N.J.S.A.39:4-50 to remove the court’s authority to revoke an offender’s registration certificate and plates in lieu of ordering the installation of an ignition interlock device for second and subsequent convictions. Under the new law, the court must order the installation of an interlock device for persons convicted of a second or subsequent driving while intoxicated offense.
As summarized below, the new law amends N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.17 to expand the use of ignition interlock devices for DWI and Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test offenses as well as to revise device installation requirements.
Interlock Required for First Refusal Conviction - For a first conviction of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a (Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test) the court must order that an ignition interlock device be installed during the period of license suspension and for not less than six months or more than one year following the expiration of the period of license suspension, commencing upon the return of the offender’s driver’s license.
Interlock Required for Repeat DWI and Refusal Convictions – For a second or subsequent conviction of DWI or Refusal, the court must order the installation of an interlock device during the period of license suspension and for not less than one year or more than three years following the expiration of the period of license suspension imposed, commencing immediately upon the return of the offender's driver's license.
Installation Limited to Principally Owned Vehicle - For all DWI convictions, the interlock device is now required to be installed only on the motor vehicle “principally operated” by the offender, rather than in all vehicles “owned, leased or regularly operated” by the offender as required in the former law.
Applicability of Interlock Requirements – The law clarifies that the ignition interlock requirements of N.J.S.A.39:4-50.16 et seq. are only applicable to violations of N.J.S.A.39:4-50 and N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a.
The new law clarifies that the disorderly persons offense established under subsection b. of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.19 for unlawfully blowing into an interlock device; tampering with a device; or renting, leasing or lending another vehicle to a person who is subject to an interlock device requirement is not applicable if the vehicle is started by a person for the purpose of safety or mechanical repair of the interlock device or the vehicle, provided that the person subject to the court order does not operate the vehicle.
Consistent with the removal of the registration revocation option in N.J.S.A.39:4-50, the new law deletes paragraph (3) of subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1 to remove the authority of the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission to revoke a vehicle registration for a second or subsequent conviction of DWI if ordered by the court. The law also amends N.J.S.A. 39:3-40a to
Finally, the new law establishes a schedule of reduced fees for certain low-income offenders whoarerequiredtoinstallaninterlockdevice. Thescheduleisbasedacomparisonoftheoffender’s family income to the federal poverty level. source http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/legis/201.pdf