DWI laws in NJ have received increased attention in the last several years. One reason for the increased legislative discussions deals with the state’s treatment of repeat DWI offenders.
In NJ, repeat DWI offenders may face stricter penalties following the introduction of two new bills.
One bill follows publicity surrounding the five consecutive DWI arrests within a five-week period of a Vineland, NJ man. The man, Anderson Sotomayor, has been cumulatively charged with not only driving while intoxicated, but also with improper passing, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident after colliding with a school bus. Less than a week later, Sotomayor allegedly struck a police vehicle while intoxicated, and then two days later, allegedly struck a utility pole. He has also been charged with an alleged drug offense, all within less than two-month period.
The bill’s proponents want to toughen current penalties for repeat offenders. One change would be for anyone charged with DWI twice within two months to have a $10,000 fine and up to 18-month jail penalty for drunk driving.
Likewise, news stories report “the bill also requires courts to suspend the person’s driver’s license when one is charged with a second DWI offense within 60 days and permits judges to impose bail up to $10,000. DWI offenses would have to be recorded by police departments within three hours of the charge being filed.
Courts can’t typically impose a bail amount higher than $2,500 for fourth-degree crimes. DWI offenses would have to be recorded by police departments within three hours of the charge being filed.”
A second bill introduced this year, Assembly Bill 1368 / Senate Bill 385, proposes installing Breathalyzer-type ignition interlocks that would prevent a person from starting their car until blowing into an attached Breathalyzer. According to news sources, the proposed bill would require post-conviction drunken drivers to “use… ignition interlocks…. for a period of at least three months.” This penalty would be assessed against all those convicted of DWI, including all first-time NJ DWI offenders.
Both bills have received public support from consumer groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) as well as multiple sponsors for the proposed legislation.
Drunk driving in NJ is serious business. Whether you or someone you love has recently been charged with a significant traffic violation, such as DWI, you should know that a NJ DWI lawyer can help sift through the charges, the court process, and penalty guidelines.
No matter the changes on the horizon, The Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC is here to serve as your ally and legal advocate.