Last week the New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee decided to postpone a vote on a bill allowing the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission to issue restricted permits to DUI offenders in New Jersey. These special permits would allow drivers previously convicted of drunk driving to operate a motor vehicle to travel to and from work during restricted hours.  The measure would also allow the holder to drive in search of employment during the restricted times.

The proposed bill imposes additional conditions for drivers being issued the permit. The holder would have to display a sticker on the vehicle identifying it as a “restricted use vehicle.” On top of that, vehicles to be used under the restricted use permits would be equipped with an ignition interlock device. These devices require a breath test before they can be started as well as during random times while they are being operated.

DUI in New Jersey
As explained by the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, driving under the influence, or DUI, in New Jersey is the operation of a motor vehicle or boat by a person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08% or higher. There are several levels of punishment for DUI in New Jersey. First time offenders with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.1% can expect fines, a license suspension of up to 3 months, and potentially 30 days in jail. First time DUI offenders with a BAC above 0.1% can receive a license suspension of between 7 months and 1 year, higher fines, their vehicle being equipped with an interlock device, and potentially 30 days in jail. Repeat offenders can expect even longer license suspension periods, higher fines, and potentially longer jail time.

Without a doubt charges of driving under the influence are extremely serious as illustrated by the potential penalties for being convicted of DUI. While being arrested for DUI is almost always a stressful, complicated time, it is encouraging to know that our state legislature is open to fairness, even after a DUI conviction. Society does not benefit from permanently punishing those who make mistakes.  While dangerous conduct that harms others must have repercussions, it is important for policymakers to set clear-sighted rules that help community members bounce back from errors and contribute positively to society.

While a special permit from the MVC will not erase a DUI conviction from your record, it will allow you to continue to get to work or look for a job. While this seems like a small consolation, it may be a crucial way to get your life back on track after a DUI conviction.

Help with DUI Charge in New Jersey
Our criminal defense attorney, Timothy Farrow,  appreciates the gravity of facing and being convicted of a serious offense like DUI. The first thing to do when facing charges is to consult a local attorney so you can understand all the options available to you, like the restricted use permits which may soon be offered by the MVC.