As of today, anyone convicted of DWI in New Jersey, even for the first time, will have to install a so-called “ignition interlock device” in their car to prevent them from driving with alcohol on their breath.
But while the new law expands the ignition lock requirement to include all first-time offenders, it eliminates license suspensions for first-timers whose blood-alcohol level was only slightly above the legal limit, or between .08 and .10 percent.
The law, which was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in August with a Dec. 1 effective date, has been hailed by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and other supporters as a common-sense alternative to mandatory suspensions without ignition lock requirements. That combination of legal penalty without technological enforcement, supporters of the new law say, allows people desperate to drive for work or other reasons to do so illegally, possibly while drunk yet again. The new law, supporters say, will cut down on the number of potentially costly or dangerous unlicensed drivers on the road.