While we await the return of DUI checkpoints to the Jersey Shore, the Law Office of Frederick P. Sisto is happy to provide tips to help you avoid a wrongful DUI conviction. The most common questions about DUIs concern the potential penalties.
New penalties took effect for alcohol-related DUIs charged after December 1, 2019. The penalty changes expire on December 1, 2024, when we are scheduled to return to the harsher penalties. The new penalties made no changes with respect to driving under the influence of drugs.
The new mandatory penalties for first offense observation cases and cases with a BAC reading of .08 or .09 require a loss of license until an interlock device is installed on the principal vehicle, followed by a three-month interlock period. An interlock is a device attached to the vehicle that the driver is required to breathe into to confirm sobriety.
The new mandatory penalties for first offense cases with a BAC reading of .10 through .14 require loss of license until an interlock device is installed, followed by a seven-month to one-year interlock period.
The new mandatory penalties for first offense cases with a BAC reading of .15 and above require a four to six-month loss of license and an interlock device installed for the license forfeiture period. That interlock period is in addition to a nine to 15 months period after the license is restored.
The new mandatory penalties for second DUI offenses require loss of license for one to two years. An interlock device must be installed for the forfeiture period plus two to four years after license restoration. There is also a mandatory two to 90 days of incarceration, with up to two of those days served in an IDRC program. This two day IDRC sentence is served overnight in a jail-like setting.
The new mandatory penalties for third and subsequent offenses require an eight year loss of license. An interlock device must be installed for the forfeiture period plus two to four years after restoration. Six months of jail is required, with up to 90 days of that sentence being allowed to be served in an inpatient program.
The above-referenced penalties are in addition to mandatory fines, fees, and surcharges. There are also mandatory classes in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), along with any recommended follow-up treatment. A judge also has discretion to impose up to 30 days in jail for any first offense DUI conviction. A second offense DUI also requires 30 days of community service.
Choosing the most-qualified attorney can make the difference between being subject to the harshest penalties and beating the DUI charge outright. At a minimum, an experienced DUI attorney can coordinate sentencing with the court, NJMVC, and the private interlock installation company so that first-offenders can lose their license for just one day.
Stay tuned for additional tips and remember that the best DUI defense is a designated driver. Have a good week-end!