Search Site
Menu
Breathe Easy: What You Should Know About the New DWI Sentencing Guidelines on Ignition Interlock Devices

The New Jersey State Legislature has found ignition interlock devices (IIDs) to be more effective in preventing repeat drunk driving offenses and offenses of similar nature. It is reported that such devices have served in deterring over 73,000 attempts of driving over the legal limit in the past 8 years.

New sentencing guidelines regarding the installation of these devices for DWIs in New Jersey have recently been enacted for any offenses occurring on or after December 1st, 2019. The courts and the State have indicated that if an offender has a charge before the changes take effect, their sentence will correspond to the prior DWI statute guidelines, However, our offices are familiar with State v. Smith 58 N.J. 202 (N.J. 1971), which includes language which would enable us to make an Equal Protection argument so that if an offender’s charges are a few months before the change and their case is to be resolved after the change, they could still get the benefit of the amended statute. Our offices will fight for that position.

Similar to our analysis of New Jersey’s expungement law updates, which can be found here,  the Law Offices of Eric Morrell have decided to take a look at these guidelines and develop a comprehensive outline of them.

 The statute that has been amended is NJSA 39:4-50, driving while intoxicated. Here’s what you need to know:

Preliminary Information

  1. The fines and jail terms have not changed regarding NJSA 39:4-50 sentencing.
  2. IIDs will apply to the owner’s single primarily used vehicle.
  3. Subsection (a)(1)(ii) of the statute is amended to now eliminate IIDs for first time offenders who drive while under the influence of drugs or those who allow the operation of a vehicle by someone under the same influence. Instead, these offenders could face a license suspension (now described as forfeiture) ranging from 7 months to 1 year.
  4. While an IID is being installed on an offender’s vehicle, the offender may not operate any vehicle that does not have an IID installed within it — this shall be reflected on the offender’s driver’s license.

Sentencing for First Offenders — The amendment the legislature has made is for the purpose of preventing a full forfeiture of license for first time offenders.

Offenders arrested for driving with a .08-. >.10 BAC

  1. An offender will have an IID installed on their vehicle for a period of three months, and will have their license forfeited until such a device is installed.

Offenders arrested for driving with a .10-. >.15 BAC

  1. An offender will have an IID installed on their vehicle for a period of 7 months to 1 year, and will have their license forfeited until such a device is installed.

Offenders arrested for driving with a <.15 BAC

  1. An offender will have an IID installed on their vehicle, and only then will the license forfeiture period be decided. The period of forfeiture will range from 4 months to 6 months.
  2. The statute will require the IID to remain installed on the vehicle for 9 months to 15 months after the reinstatement of the offender’s license.

It is understood that pre conviction installation of an IID will shorten the effect term of the forfeiture, so we will prepare our clients to have an IID installed even prior to their sentencing date. While our goal is to keep a DWI off the record entirely, we are prepared to help you as best we can no matter the circumstances. .

Sentencing for Second-Time Offenders

  1. An offender will forfeit their license for 1 year to 2 years.
  2. An IID will be installed on their vehicle during the term of their suspension and for 2 years to 4 years thereafter.
  3. If there is no vehicle, a forfeiture of license will be sentenced for a period of 2 years to 4 years.

Sentencing for Third-Time and Subsequent-Time Offenders

  1. An offender will forfeit their license for up to 8 years.
  2. An IID will be installed on their vehicle during the term of their suspension and for 2 years to 4 years thereafter.
  3. If there is no vehicle, a forfeiture of license will be sentenced for a period of 2 years to 4 years.

Sentencing for Refusals from First-Time Offenders

  1. An offender will have an IID installed on their vehicle for a period of 9 months to 15 months , and will have their license forfeited until such a device is installed.
  2. Installing an IID prior to a guilty plea will keep the offender from losing their license.

Sentencing for Refusals from Second-Time Offenders

  1. Following an indefinite suspension, an offender will have an IID installed on their vehicle, and, following installation, will continue to have their license forfeited for 1 year to 2 years.
  2. Following restoration of the offender’s driving privileges, the IID must still remain installed for an additional 2 years to 4 years.

Sentencing for Refusals from Third-Time and Subsequent-Time Offenders

  1. Following an indefinite suspension, an offender will have an IID installed on their vehicle, and, following installation, will continue to have their license forfeited for up to 8 years.
  2. Following restoration of the offender’s driving privileges, the IID must still remain installed for an additional 2 years to 4 years.

At the Law Offices of Eric B. Morrell, we fight for you. We hope this comprehensive guide to the new DWI Interlock Sentencing Guidelines has been of help, and our team is always available to help new clients. We can be reached at (732)-249-9933. Give us a call if you need us, but be sure to drink responsibly. The information from the above article has been compiled from information in Robert Ramsey’s Garden State CLE course. We would like to thank Mr. Ramsey for being a resource.

Contact us

Please fill out the form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

Quick Contact Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Awards & Affiliations
  • Peer Rating
  • Avvo Ratings
  • Avvo Reviews
  • Avvo - Clients' Choice Award 2015-2017
  • SuperLawyers
Office Location
  • New Brunswick Office
    142 Livingston Avenue
    New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
    Phone: 732-249-9933
    Fax: 732-249-9934