by Kenneth Vercammen, ESQ.
"An Ignition Interlock device is an electronic alcohol analyzer which connects with the ignition and other control systems of a motor vehicle. It measures the BAC of the intended driver and prevents the vehicle from being started if the BAC exceeds a preset limit. It is generally comprised] of a detachable Sample Head and a Control Module which is hard wired to the vehicle in a tamper resistant fashion." http://www.acs-corp.com/interloc.htm
On a first conviction of DWI, the Judge can require you install an Ignition Interlock device on your car. On second and third offense, an Ignition Interlock device is mandatory on cars you own. The Ignition Interlock device requires fees for installation, plus monthly charges. Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents individuals charged with criminal and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey. Our office helps people with traffic/municipal court tickets throughout New Jersey, including drivers charged with DUI/DWI and refusal. Driving Under Influence and other Motor vehicle violations can cost you. You will have to pay fines in court, or receive points on your driver's license. A conviction will require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. MVC [Division of Motor Vehicles] and have your license suspended. In New Jersey, the Judge does not have to rule that you were drunk. The prosecutor only needs to prove a driver was under the influence of alcohol. Don't give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for Driving Under Influence and other Motor vehicle violations. When your driver's license is in jeopardy, or you are facing thousands of dollars in fines, DMV surcharges, car insurance increases, and ignition interlock, you need excellent legal representation. The least expensive attorney is not always the answer. Please schedule an appointment if you need experienced legal representation in a traffic/municipal court matter. Our website www.njlaws.com provides information on traffic offenses of which we can be retained to represent people. Our website also provides details on jail terms for Driving Under Influence and car insurance eligibility points. Car insurance companies increase rates or drop customers based on DWI and other moving violations.
In New Jersey Driving Under Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are the same charge. The following is the new DWI law in New Jersey with the portions of the statute dealing with Ignition Interlock devices:
39:4-50 DWI penalties........ (2)For a second violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00, and shall be ordered by the court to perform community service for a period of 30 days, which shall be of such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 48 consecutive hours, which shall not be suspended or served on probation, nor more than 90 days, and shall forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of two years upon conviction, and, after the expiration of said period, he may make application to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for a license to operate a motor vehicle, which application may be granted at the discretion of the chief administrator, consistent with subsection (b) of this section. For a second violation, a person also shall be required to install an ignition interlock device under the provisions of P.L. 1999, c.417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.) or shall have his registration certificate and registration plates revoked for two years under the provisions of section 2 of P.L. 1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1).
(3)For a third or subsequent violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of $1,000.00, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 180 days in a county jail or workhouse, except that the court may lower such term for each day, not exceeding 90 days, served participating in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and shall thereafter forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for 10 years. For a third or subsequent violation, a person also shall be required to install an ignition interlock device under the provisions of P.L. 1999, c.417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.) or shall have his registration certificate and registration plates revoked for 10 years under the provisions of section 2 of P.L. 1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1).
39:4-50.16 Findings, declarations relative to ignition interlock devices.
1. The Legislature finds and declares:
a. This State's penalties for drunk driving, including the mandatory suspension of driver's licenses and counseling for offenders, are among the strongest in the nation. However, despite the severity of existing penalties, far too many persons who have been convicted under the drunk driving law continue to imperil the lives of their fellow citizens by driving while intoxicated.
b. Ignition interlock devices, which permit a motor vehicle to be started only when the driver is sober, offer a technically feasible and effective means of further reducing the incidence of drunk driving. The use of these devices was initiated in California in 1986 and, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they are presently being used or tested in at least 37 states.
c. The judicious deployment of ignition interlock devices, as provided under this act, will enhance and strengthen this State's existing efforts to keep drunk drivers off the highways.
39:4-50.17 Sentencing drunk driving offenders; device defined.
2. a. In sentencing a first offender under R.S. 39:4-50, the court may order, in addition to any other penalty imposed by that section, the installation of an interlock device in every motor vehicle owned, leased or regularly operated by the offender following the expiration of the period of license suspension imposed under that section. The device shall remain installed for not less than six months or more than one year, commencing immediately upon the return of the offender's driver's license after the required period of suspension has been served.
b. In sentencing a second or subsequent offender under R.S. 39:4-50, the court may order, in addition to any other penalty imposed by that section, the installation of an interlock device in every motor vehicle owned, leased or regularly operated by the offender. The device shall remain installed for not less than one year or more than three years, commencing immediately upon the return of the offender's driver's license after the required period of suspension has been served.
c. The court shall require that, for the duration of its order, an offender shall drive no vehicle other than one in which an interlock device has been installed pursuant to the order.
d. As used in this act, "ignition interlock device" or "device" means a blood alcohol equivalence measuring device which will prevent a motor vehicle from starting if the operator's blood alcohol content exceeds a predetermined level when the operator blows into the device.
39:4-50.18 DMV notation of interlock device installation.
3. The court shall notify the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles when a person has been ordered to install an interlock device in a vehicle owned, leased or regularly operated by the person. The division shall require that the device be installed before reinstatement of the person's driver's license that has been suspended pursuant to R.S. 39:4-50. The division shall imprint a notation on the driver's license stating that the person shall not operate a motor vehicle unless it is equipped with an interlock device and shall enter this requirement in the person's driving record.
39:4-50.19 Violation of law; penalties.
4. a. A person who fails to install an interlock device ordered by the court in a motor vehicle owned, leased or regularly operated by him shall have his driver's license suspended for one year, in addition to any other suspension or revocation imposed under R.S. 39:4-50, unless the court determines a valid reason exists for the failure to comply. A person in whose vehicle an interlock device is installed pursuant to a court order who drives that vehicle after it has been started by any means other than his own blowing into the device or who drives a vehicle that is not equipped with such a device shall have his driver's license suspended for one year, in addition to any other penalty applicable by law.
b. A person is a disorderly person who:
(1)Blows into an interlock device or otherwise starts a motor vehicle equipped with such a device for the purpose of providing an operable motor vehicle to a person who has been ordered by the court to install the device in the vehicle.
(2)Tampers or in any way circumvents the operation of an interlock device.
(3)Knowingly rents, leases or lends a motor vehicle not equipped with an interlock device to a person who has been ordered by the court to install an interlock device in a vehicle he owns, leases or regularly operates.
39:4-50.20 Certification of devices.
5. The director shall certify or cause to be certified ignition interlock devices required by this act and shall publish a list of approved devices. A device shall not be certified unless the manufacturer enters into an agreement with the division for the provision of devices to indigent offenders, as determined by the director, at a reduced cost. The director shall provide a copy of this list along with information on the purpose and proper use of interlock devices to persons who have been ordered by the court to install such a device in their vehicles.
39:4-50.21 Rules, regulations.
6. Pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L. 1968, c.410 (C. 52:14B-1 et seq.), the division shall promulgate rules and regulations for the installation and use of ignition interlock devices. These regulations shall be consistent with the federal model specifications for ignition interlock devices issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
a. requiring that the ignition interlock system selected shall:
(1)not impede the safe operation of the vehicle;
(2)incorporate features that make circumvention difficult and that do not interfere with the normal use of the vehicle;
(3)correlate closely with established measures of alcohol impairment;
(4)operate accurately and reliably in an unsupervised environment;
(5)resist tampering and give evidence when tampering is attempted;
(6)be difficult to circumvent and require premeditation to do so;
(7)require a deep lung breath sample as a measure of blood alcohol concentration equivalence;
(8)operate reliably over the range of automobile environments; and
(9)be manufactured by a party who will provide liability insurance.
b. designating the facilities where ignition interlock devices may be installed;
c. establishing guidelines for the proper use of ignition interlock devices; and
d. establishing guidelines for the provision of ignition interlock devices at reduced rates to persons who, according to standards specified by the division, qualify as indigent.
The director may adopt at his discretion, in whole or in part, the guidelines, rules, regulations, studies, or independent laboratory tests performed on and relied upon in the certification of ignition interlock devices by other states, their agencies or commissions.
Conclusion In New Jersey, there are only a few companies that install the Ignition Interlock devices. One company is Smart Start 877-363-3947. If charged with Driving While Intoxicated, immediately schedule an in-office appointment with a trial attorney. Don't rely on a real estate attorney, public defender or a family member who simply attended law school. When your driving privileges and ability to drive to work is on the line, hire an experienced attorney.
Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea
1. You will have to appear in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense(s)
2. Do you understand that if you plead guilty:
a. You will have a criminal record
b. You may go to Jail or Prison.
c. You will have to pay Fines and Court Costs.
3. If you are on Probation, you will have to submit to random drug and urine testing. If you violate Probation, you often go to jail.
4. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing.
5. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss and if the court finds that you are able or will be able in the future to pay restitution.
6. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.
7. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.
8. You must wait 5-10 years to expunge a first offense. 2C:52-3
9. You could be put on Probation.
10. In Drug Cases, a mandatory DEDR penalty of $500-$1,000, and lose your driver's license for 6 months - 2years. You must pay a Law Enforcement Officers Training and Equipment Fund penalty of $30.
11. You may be required to do Community Service.
12. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty.
13. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction.
14. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation.
15. You lose the presumption against incarceration in future cases. 2C:44-1
16. You may lose your right to vote.
The defense of a person charged with a criminal offense is not impossible. There are a number of viable defenses and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Advocacy, commitment, and persistence are essential to defending a client accused of a criminal offense.
Jail for Crimes and Disorderly Conduct:
If someone pleads Guilty or is found Guilty of a criminal offense, the following is the statutory Prison/Jail terms.
NJSA 2C: 43-8 (1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;
(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;
(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;
(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.
2C:43-3 Fines have been increased recently! 2C:43-3. Fines and Restitutions. A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:
a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;
(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;
b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;
(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;
c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;
d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;
If facing any criminal charge, retain an experienced attorney immediately to determine you rights and obligations to the court.