New Jersey DWI Attorney John Menzel

What Happens If I Am Still On Probation For A First DWI And Get Arrested For A Second DWI?


New Jersey does not have probation for DWIs because DWI is not classified as a crime or a criminal offense here. However, there are two agencies that perform functions that resemble probation for DWI. One is an agency called the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center [“IDRC”]. The other involves the installer of the alcohol ignition interlock device [“AIID”] which is now a requirement for anyone convicted of DUI, except first offenders convicted of drugged driving.

IDRC conducts classes which those convicted of DWI are required to attend as part of their sentences–either two six-hour sessions on two consecutive days or one 48 hour session, depending on what the judge has ordered. If the test reading is .15 BAC or higher or if there is a history of prior alcohol or drug related convictions or if the IDRC assessment indicates a need, IDRC will generally require further education, evaluation, or treatment. The IDRC assessment uses what they call an “evaluation instrument”–something like 107 multiple choice questions, a couple of short answers, and one essay question. If you don’t follow IDRC recommendations, IDRC has authority to have MVC revoke your driving privilege.

The law requires second offenders to receive a two to 90-day jail term, but absent some significant aggravating factor, judges will generally commute the minimum two-day jail term to the 48-hour IDRC. The law is unclear whether IDRC is required judicially as part of a third offense sentence. Indeed, there are arguments that a judge may not require IDRC attendance. But third or subsequent offenders are required by administrative regulations to complete a 12-hour IDRC program and meet any screening and referral services as a pre-requisite to restoration of driving privilege. So, that is the first level of probation type monitoring.

IDRC has authority, independent of the court or N.J. Motor Vehicle Commission [“MVC”], to require any attendee to engage in further education, evaluation, or treatment. If an attendee fails to follow the requirement, IDRC will refer the case back to municipal court, which can impose a jail sentence, send the person back to IDRC, or terminate IDRC requirements.

AIID installers are required to monitor how people comply with AIID installation and maintenance requirements. They also are required to record the breath alcohol content registered by the device during the last month that the AIID is required. If a person blows a .08 or higher more than one time during that last month, the interlock installer is required to report that to municipal court, which then has the authority to extend the interlock period or impose other punishments.

This statute is relatively new. It has only been in effect since December 1, 2019. It, like its predecessor, discriminates against those people who do not own a vehicle. This issue is now before the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. Pro bono, I am representing an individual too poor to acquire and maintain a motor vehicle. Her driving privilege was revoked for two years, and she was required to have an AIID for two years thereafter. Having lost her license more than four years ago, she sought credit against the AIID requirement. But the trial court denied that request. We have submitted legal arguments in writing to the court and are waiting for it to schedule oral argument. Another unresolved issue is how out-of-state drivers address the AIID requirement. Keep watching for further case law developments.

Can I Get A Restricted License In New Jersey For A Second Or Subsequent DWI?

In certain circumstances, there are periods of driving privilege revocation when a person cannot operate a motor vehicle for any purpose–a “hard” revocation. First offenders with a BAC below a .15 receive an indefinite revocation that will end (a) on installation of an AIID in whatever vehicle they principally operate and (b) obtaining from MVC a driver’s license with notice of the AIID restriction imprinted on the license. If the AIID is already installed before conviction, many municipal court judges will issue a temporary license for a fixed period of time during which a person can install the AIID and, for practical purposes, avoid any hard revocation.

When a person is convicted as a second or subsequent offender, that person cannot drive at all for a fixed period. For second offenders, that period is one to two years. For third or subsequent offenders, that period is eight years. Then, as a condition of driving privilege restoration, the person would be required to show MVC that you have a vehicle available to you with the interlock already installed. At that point, MVC would issue a limited license restricting the person to operating only that vehicle in which the AIID was installed for two to four years.

If a person does not have any vehicles registered or leased in their name, revocation will start immediately upon conviction. If a person has a vehicle registered in their name, the hard revocation may not begin until installation of the AIID, leading to further delay of the supervision described above. It’s a little bit of a grey area.

For more information on Probation for a Drug DWI in NJ, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 218-9090 today.

John Menzel, J.D.

Learn your options - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (732) 218-9090

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