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New bill could change penalties for DWI’s

Drunk driving is a serious offense that has significant penalties. According to one group of people who oppose a new bill regarding DWI penalties, the biggest deterrence for people not to drive drunk is losing their license - and quite possibly, their job. However, a new bill being considered in the New Jersey legislature could actually eliminate that penalty.

The proposal wants people who are convicted of DWI a first or second time have the option of installing an interlock on their ignition. This device won't allow a vehicle to start if the driver blows into the interlock and has been drinking. This device is used in many other states. If a defendant chooses to do so, then he or she would not have their driver's license suspended for the three to seven months that is generally handed down as part of a sentence for DWI. Instead, it would only be for 10 days. This is to give the person chance to get the ignition interlock installed. Should someone choose to take this options, though, there can be consequences for not doing so.

Those convicted of their first DWI under this bill would be able to install the device on their car, avoid jail time, pay lower fees and serve fewer community service hours, too.

A legislative affairs officer for Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that almost three-quarters of those convicted of drunk driving keep driving after their drivers' licenses are suspended. This proposal has backing of MADD, which says this is the most prioritized bill in the legislature for the organization right now.

The bill certainly has its opponents, though, so it will be interesting to see which side wins out. Those who have been charged with drunk driving should discuss all options with their criminal defense attorney. This will ensure that all information is available before making any decisions about your case.

Source: northjersey.com, "DWI legislation would replace drunken driving suspensions with ignition locks" Kibret Markos, Jan. 01, 2014

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