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Scutari Bill to Revise Drunk Driving Penalties Passes Senate

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari, which would revise penalties for drunk driving and expand the use of ignition interlock devices (IID), passed the Senate today.

“Many individuals who have their license suspended due to drunk driving continue to drive and even continue to drive drunk,” said Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “That’s the reality of what we need to address and requiring the installation of IIDs for an initial offense will keep our roads safe from those who pose hazards to not only themselves, but our communities as well.

“By requiring this, instead of a license suspension, first time offenders can work towards moving on and learning from their mistake. A loss of a license can ruin lives professionally and personally, while an IID will allow individuals to continue to live their lives while driving sober behind the wheel.”

Under the bill, S-824, first time offenders with a BAC of 0.08% to 0.10% would be required to have an IID installed in their vehicle for three months. An offender with a BAC of 0.10% to 0.15% would be required to have an IID installed in their vehicle for seven to twelve months. Any first time offender who has a BAC above 0.15% would have their license suspended for four to six months and have an IID installed during and after the suspension for nine to fifteen months.

An IID is a device that detects alcohol from breath samples it takes from the driver. If alcohol is detected, the vehicle’s engine will not start.

Offenders that do not own, lease or operate a vehicle would be required to attest to this in court and their license would be suspended for a period of time equal to the IID installation period.

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 30-5.