Effective December 1, 2019 penalties imposed at sentencing under N.J.S. 39:4-50 were revised in accordance with published research based on data showing that installation of an ignition interlock device is significantly more effective than punitive driver license suspension at changing driver behavior away from habitually driving under the influence.
The penalties imposed at sentencing following conviction for a second offense now include:
“(2) For a second violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, 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 terms 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, or more than 90 days, and shall forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of not less than one year or more than two years upon conviction.
After the expiration of the license forfeiture period, the person 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.).”
Necessarily, conviction for a second time offense brings a sentence which is somewhat more punitive than any sentence imposed for a first offense.
However, the current law places more emphasis on rehabilitation and behavior modification for a second time offender than previously.
Prior to the December 1, 2019 amendment, a second-offender sentence imposed suspension of driving privilege for a mandatory period of two years flat. With greater reliance on the effects of deterrence and of regular interaction with an interlock device while driving, many second offenders have their driving privilege suspended for a mandatory minimum period of one year—and most are suspended from driving for some period less than the two-year maximum period at the discretion of the judge.
The change in emphasis toward use of an ignition interlock device to reduce the more draconian penalty of suspension of the right to drive—bringing with it collateral consequences such as loss of employment—is noteworthy for its focus on results and reduced emphasis on punishment, even for repeat offenders.
A DUI charge can have significant and long-lasting consequences on someone’s life. However, a DUI attorney in Toms River can help.
A DUI conviction can impact one’s employment opportunities, reputation, and personal relationships. If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, you should contact a DUI attorney in Toms River.