New Jersey Bill Could Increase Drunk Driving Consequences

A New Jersey bill is being considered which would enforce new consequences for parents and/or guardians who cause injury to their children in the course of a drunk driving accident. Bill A1015 is sponsored by Assembly Law and Public Safety Chairman Charles Mainor, who is also a Jersey City police detective.

Lifesafer Ignition Interlock New JerseyIf the bill becomes law it will state that such accidents become fourth-degree crimes.  Consequences for the crime would include up to a $10,000 fine and 18 months in prison.  If the injury to the child is considered a serious one (defined as permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of…any bodily member or organ), the charge would be increased to a third-degree crime, with consequences of up to a $15,000 fine and three to five years in prison. The bill toughens current law, which states that a parent or guardian driving drunk with a child in the car can be charged with a disorderly persons offense, regardless of whether the child is injured.

Bill A1015 also proposes license suspension for any driver found guilty of a DUI with minor passengers in tow. Any driver convicted of a DUI violation under the new bill would be forced to turn in his or her license for a six-month period, and complete up to five days of community service.

The consequences for a first-offense DUI in New Jersey depend on the driver’s BAC (blood alcohol content). Offenders whose BAC is between 0.08 and 0.10 face up to 30 days in prison, 12 to 48 hours in the intoxicated driver resource center, a fine of up to $400 and a three-month loss of driving privileges. Drivers whose BAC is 0.10 or higher are subject to higher fines and a possible one-year suspension of driving privileges. In addition, judges may elect to require drivers with BACs less than 0.15 to use ignition interlock devices (IIDs). IIDs are mandatory for drivers with a BAC of 0.15 or higher.

For more information on New Jersey DUI laws contact an attorney.