ignition interlock device

In the state of New Jersey, a driver is considered to be “driving while intoxicated” if their blood alcohol level exceeds 0.08%. If the driver is under 21 years old, there is zero tolerance – any alcohol in the system is illegal. Driving while intoxicated also includes being under the influence of things like narcotics, hallucinogenic drugs, or habit-producing drugs. A DUI charge comes with a variety of different consequences. One of these consequences is installing an ignition interlock device in the driver’s car to prevent them from driving while intoxicated. If you have been charged with a DUI, the first step is to get an experienced attorney on your side.

Everything You Need to Know About Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer that prevents a car from starting if it detects a breath-alcohol concentration of over 0.08%. The device connects to the car’s engine ignition system and can interrupt the signal from the ignition to start. The idea behind the device is that it prevents drivers from getting repeat DUI charges.  In addition, the device will require drivers to stop periodically during their drive to complete another breathalyzer. This stops drivers from taking the test and then having a drink and driving. The results of the tests are monitored to check up on how the driver is doing.

Ignition interlock devices are installed in drivers’ cars if they receive a DUI. This is often in lieu of suspending the driver’s license. If the license is suspended, the suspension duration can be shorter if the driver installs an ignition interlock. A suspended license is extremely disruptive as it makes it very difficult for people to get to work. The ignition interlock device allows people to keep their license, thus keeping their job. The device can also save lives. According to an article on northjersey.com, “During the past 11 years, ignition interlocks have prevented almost 74,000 startups by drivers with a BAC over 0.08.”

DUIs in the State of New Jersey

ignition interlock device

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 defines “driving while intoxicated” as “a person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more.”

The consequences for receiving a DUI charge include fines, fees, surcharges, potential license suspension, jail time, community service, and the installation of an ignition interlock device in the driver’s vehicle. Thanks to a law change in 2019, now only drivers with a BAC reading of 0.15% or more will face license suspension. Those with a BAC lower than 0.15% can avoid suspension by installing an ignition interlock device in their car. 

Typically, the device will need to remain in the car for 3-12 months, depending on the BAC level at the time of the charge. A first-time DUI offender who has a BAC of over 0.15% will have their license suspended for 4-6 months. After the period of suspension, then an interlock device will be placed in the car for 9-15 months. If the driver is facing a second-time DUI offense, their license will be suspended for up to 2 years, then they will have to install an ignition interlock device in their car for 2-4 years after the suspension is over.

How a New Jersey Attorney Can Help

New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin has helped many drivers who are facing DUI charges over the course of his career. His goal is to always have charges dropped. If that’s not possible, his next plan of action is to have them downgraded. Leon will immediately review the following as he creates his defense for the case:

  • Alcotest results
  • Conclusions drawn from field sobriety tests or Drug Recognition Experts
  • Any documents provided by the defendants (ex: medical records)

Often, Leon can successfully challenge the field sobriety test. For example, maybe the defendant didn’t walk straight because he/she had an injury or neurological condition. Or maybe the Alcotest showed a certain BAC, but the driver performed well on the balance test, meaning the Alcotest results could be thrown out. If a driver is facing license suspension, Leon can also attempt to have the charges downgraded so that they can keep their license and be monitored for a specific period of time with an ignition interlock device. Leon always carefully analyzes all evidence present in order to form a solid defense for his clients.

Ignition Interlock Devices

A DUI charge in the state of New Jersey comes with various consequences, such as jail time, fees, license suspension, and the installation of an ignition interlock in the car. An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer that prevents cars from starting if the driver has a breath-alcohol content above 0.08%. The device is designed to monitor the driver, keep everyone on the road safe, and to allow the driver to keep using their car so that they won’t have to quit their job. The first thing to do when charged with a DUI is to seek out an experienced attorney.

If you or a loved one have received a charge that will be heard in the Municipal Court system, give New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin a call at (833) 732-7320, or contact him via email at [email protected]. He will set up an initial consultation to learn more about you and your case.