New Jersey DWI Attorney John Menzel

What Is The Process Of Getting An Interlock Device Installed?


New Jersey law requires the installation of an alcohol ignition interlock device as a separate punishment for people convicted of DWI or breath test refusal, except for first DWI offenders with either no breath test result or a breath test result of less than .10. But the law’s affect varies from person to person, depending on their circumstances, and is often unfair.

 I just finished a trial last night, and the judge actually ordered the interlock during a period when the person’s revocation was stayed, pending appeal. My client’s exact question was, How do I go about getting it? They can go to the phonebook or to the Internet or the Motor Vehicle Commission’s website and find out who the authorized installers are.

The installers are generally pretty good at guiding people through the process and providing the required forms for the Motor Vehicle Commission. Those forms have the instructions telling people how they take that form, signed by the installer, to the Motor Vehicle Commission to get their restricted driving privilege in place.

What Do You Say To Clients That Say They Cannot Afford An Ignition Interlock Device?

New Jersey law provides that if you can demonstrate that you have an income less than one and a half times above the recognized poverty level, you can get a reduction in the interlock fees. There are not too many people in New Jersey that meet that criteria. The bottom line is, if you don’t get the interlock, under current Motor Vehicle Commission policy, you’ll never get a driver’s license from New Jersey.

What Does Someone Do If They Don’t Own A Vehicle And An Interlock Device Is Imposed?

If you cannot show the Motor Vehicle Commission that you have a vehicle available to you with the interlock, they will not give you a driver’s license. That’s going to be challenged at some point. I never believed that the interlock law was intended to boost the sales of car companies and interlock companies. There was a time when we thought early in the days of the interlock law, that if you simply sat out the interlock period and didn’t drive, that would take care of it. Unfortunately, that’s not how the Motor Vehicle Commission has seen it. The problem is that the people who are in the poorest position to challenge the law are those who either don’t have cars or can’t afford them. They end up being victimized by this interlock law in New Jersey, based solely on their poverty. That’s not right. One of these days, there’ll be a challenge to it.

I have a client now who is considering such a challenge. She was convicted as a second offender. She served her two-year license suspension and was ordered to have the interlock for two years thereafter. While her driving privilege was revoked, she resituated herself into a more urban environment where she really didn’t need to drive a car, and she chose not to buy a car or pay for the insurance and the other expenses of owning a car. She is now unable to get her license restored, simply because she doesn’t have the money to buy a car, buy an interlock, and pay for insurance. New Jersey has the highest automobile insurance rates in the country, and it is enormously expensive to own a car here. As she’s poor, the government won’t give her a license, even though she’s served her time. We hope to challenge that soon.

How Does An Ignition Interlock Device Impact A Person?

If there is only one vehicle in the household that means that the spouse or any children also have to blow into the interlock. There is no way to bypass the interlock once it’s installed. Whoever is going to drive has to blow into it when they are prompted to do so.

What If Someone Drives A Company Owned Vehicle?

If it’s a company car, then the employer will have to have the interlock installed if that person is going to customarily operate that vehicle. What usually ends up happening though is that people get fired, or they work some kind of a deal where the employer’s no longer providing the car. Overall, it creates a pretty big financial hardship for people in that position.

How Is The Imposition Of An Ignition Interlock Device Enforced?

In New Jersey, there is no monitoring except for the initial installation. There is no provision for that under New Jersey law, though that’s not to say that one will not be enacted in the future. Right now, if you show to the Motor Vehicle Commission that you have installed the interlock, and then they give you back the restricted license, the next day you could go to the company and have the interlock removed. There is no provision in the law to enforce the continued installation of the interlock. However, there are penalties if you get caught driving a vehicle without the interlock during that period of restricted driving. Those penalties can be pretty significant.

For more information on Ignition Interlock Devices In New Jersey, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 899-1899 today.

John Menzel, J.D.

Learn your options - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (732) 899-1899

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