Facing a DUI conviction is an overwhelming and stressful experience, right from the moment of the traffic stop. Whether or not it is the first offense, you likely know the potential consequences that a DUI could have on your life. From paying harsh fines to reinstating a suspended license, the process of getting your life back on track can be time-consuming and costly.

These potential penalties still exist if individuals facing a drunk driving conviction do not fight the charges against them. However, new laws signed by Gov. Phil Murphy at the end of August could change the process significantly.

New law increases use of ignition interlock devices

Earlier this summer, several New Jersey lawmakers moved to place more emphasis on installing ignition interlock devices as both a primary DUI penalty and a preventative measure.

This bill successfully became law at the end of August. It will require everyone with a DUI conviction, including first-time offenders, to have an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. In the past, only repeat offenders or individuals who refused Breathalyzer tests had to use these devices for specific periods of time after the conviction.

What are ignition interlock devices?

Ignition interlock devices are nothing new. These devices have been used since around the 1980s. This law only makes the use more widespread.

The devices are similar to a personal Breathalyzer connected to a vehicle’s ignition. They require drivers to breathe into the device to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). If it is higher than 0.05%, the car will not start.

Lawmakers say this is positive: Is that true?

The governor and other lawmakers state that expanding the use of ignition interlock devices will have a positive impact on those with DUI or DWI convictions.

According to Gov. Murphy, increasing the use of ignition interlock devices instead of suspending driver’s licenses will deter drunk driving while helping individuals to:

  • Retain their driving privileges and licenses, with exceptions
  • Continue working and living their daily lives
  • Provide for their families

While it is true that widespread use of ignition interlock devices could have some advantages, individuals would still have to pay to install and use these devices. After the administrative fees involved in a DUI conviction, that can be expensive, since these devices can cost more than $80 each month.

These recent changes should not stop you from fighting a DUI charge. After all, these charges can still have serious long-term consequences on your personal and professional life. And fighting them can help you protect your rights and your future.