We close with brief observations about intermittent sentences and the Legislature’s efforts to address “the scourge of intoxicated driving.” The Supreme Court has expressed its “commitment to eliminating intoxicated drivers from our highways.” The Court has also recognized the Legislature’s “increased emphasis on incarceration” to combat driving under the influence by recidivists. Enactment of N.J.S.A. 2C:46-20 is consistent with that direction.
It is not for us to question or endorse the Legislature’s policy judgment. We respect it. We are mindful of the devastating toll that impaired driving exacts upon society. We also acknowledge the erosion of the enforcement scheme that results from persons driving while suspended. That is so, even if they are unimpaired when they do so, although too often they are impaired, resulting in tragic consequences.
However, the Legislature added N.J.S.A. 2C:46-20 to a Code that, since the Code’s enactment in 1978, has authorized intermittent sentences. L. 1978, c. 95. Although not included in the original proposed revision of the New Jersey criminal law, see I The New Jersey Penal Code, Final Report of the New Jersey Criminal Law Revision Commission § 2C:43-2 (1971), the Legislature found it appropriate to include intermittent sentencing as a sentencing option. In so doing, it followed other states that, in one form or another, have authorized such dispositions. Nicolette Parisi, Part-Time Imprisonment: The Legal and Practical Issues of Periodic Confinement, 63 Judicature 385 (1980) (surveying various state laws on intermittent sentencing); see also Model Penal Code and Commentaries § 6.02 n.28 (Am. Law Inst. 1985) (noting that Illinois and Michigan, like New Jersey, revised their criminal laws, which were based on the Model Penal Code, to include authority for intermittent sentencing).
Intermittent sentences may preserve the deterrent and rehabilitative effect of a custodial sentence, while enabling an offender to continue to be employed, and avoid the financial and emotional burden that would result if he or she could not. We are unpersuaded that the Legislature, in adopting the stiffened penalties in N.J.S.A. 2C:46-20, intended to bar an intermittent sentence, absent which an offender like Stephen Nolan would lose his job and health insurance, and his wife and child would likely seek public assistance.
This is persuasive logic from the Court. It is particularly persuasive when considering that intermittent sentences are not only consistent with encouraging offenders to maintain gainful employment, but also when considering that intermittent sentences carry more deterrence in light of the above-stated reasons.