What You Need to Know About NJ’s New Drunk Driving Penalties

On December 1, New Jersey introduced a new law governing penalties for drunk drivers.

About the Regulations

The new regulations limit suspensions for first time offenders with a BAC below .15%. Instead, these drivers must install in-car breathalyzers that prevent vehicles from moving if the driver has a BAC of .05% or more. This protocol is in place for three months until a year, depending on the specific case.

There are different regulations that govern drivers who are convicted of DWI with a BAC above .15%. These drivers are subject to a suspension of their license for up to six months. Furthermore, they must install the in-car breathalyzer for up to an additional fifteen months, depending on the specific case.

A Departure from NJ’s Previous System

The new laws break from the state’s former system because they require in-car breathalyzers for drivers with a BAC below .15%. This policy is similar to those that other state jurisdictions have initiated. In fact, New Jersey will be the 34thstate to adopt a “all offender” policy once the law goes into effect on December 1st.

State Senator Nicholas Scutari spearheaded the initiative, citing a need for both behavior change and increased protection of the state’s motorists. Advocates of the new law note that is does not suspend offenders with a BAC of below .05%, which is expected to increase the effectiveness of the policy. Since full-suspension of driving privileges usually interferes with the motorists ability to get to work, the new policy allows drivers to get to work on time if they are able to comply with the regulations of the in-car breathalyzer.

Additional Benefits

This policy also expedites the process of license restoration for those with less than .15% BAC. Furthermore, the ignition interlock technology is advanced enough to provide state agencies with enough data every two months about the driver’s BAC.

Our Expertise

Our team at Aretsky Law Group is here to help you or a loved one navigate this new regulation. As leaders in car accident law, we can also help you or a loved one if you are injured as a result of a car accident or intoxicated drivers. If you are a plaintiff suing the negligent party, keep in mind that you won’t be able to file a lawsuit against your opponent after two years have passed since the date of the accident. This occurs due to New Jersey’s statute of limitations regarding car accident lawsuits. This policy is in alignment with the policies of many other states. Furthermore, similar to other jurisdictions, the state of New Jersey applies a damages cap which limits the amount of damages that may be awarded to the plaintiff in a car accident case. Only in serious cases of malicious wrongdoing, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to other damages. Different than compensatory damages, punitive damages are those charged to the defendant in order to deter future behavior. However, in the case of a New Jersey car accident lawsuit, these punitive damages are limited to five times the amount of compensatory damages OR are capped at $350,000. The sum that is the largest is usually awarded.

As with other personal injury cases, New Jersey applies the modified comparative negligence standard. So long as you are not more than 50 percent at fault, you’re able to recover damages reduced by the percentage of your fault. However, if you were more than 50 percent at fault, you will not be able to collect any compensation. At Aretsky Law Group, P.C., we have a competent team of Bergen County personal injury attorneys who understand the breadth of legal research involved and are willing to do everything possible to help you receive just compensation from your accident.

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