Have you plead guilty or been convicted of a second DUI pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 and have been ordered by the court to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle?

In the instance when you are found guilty of DUI as a second-time offender, the Court must order the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) during your license suspension, which must continue for a period ranging from 1 to 3 years after the return of the offender’s license.  In other words, the IID must be installed during the period of your license suspension as a condition to have your license reinstated by the State.

An IID is a device that is similar to a breathalyzer, however, an ignition interlock device is connected to the vehicle dashboard or other location inside the vehicle and requires that the driver breathes into the device prior to starting the vehicle.  If the Interlock ignition interlock device detects the blood alcohol concentration of the driver to be above the programmed limit in the device, then the engine of the vehicle will not start.

In addition, State regulation requires drivers to periodically submit additional breath samples while they drive the vehicle to prove the continued absence of alcohol. Generally, within 4-8 minutes of starting your vehicle, the IID will ask for another breath sample, then every 5-10 minutes thereafter for the duration of the trip.

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.17 mandates that an interlock device must be installed in a vehicle “principally operated” by the offender.  So, the issue that many DUI offenders face is which vehicle, if any, the IID must be installed in.

If you do not own or intend to sell your vehicle during the time of your license suspension, you are required to put the device on some vehicle which you intend to drive after the reinstatement of your driving privileges.  This can mean installation on a vehicle owned and operated by your parent, spouse, or family member.  Thus, even if you do not primarily own a vehicle during the time of your license suspension, you are required to have the device installed on a vehicle as a condition to the reinstatement of your license by the Motor Vehicle Commission. Failure to install a court ordered interlock device on a vehicle you operate will prevent you from the MVC reissuing your license.  In addition, if you move and intend to obtain a license from another state, it may prevent your new state from issuing you a license.  This is because the MVC will administratively continue the offender’s license suspension until the offender provides proof that an approved device has been installed.

In addition, it is important to note that an offender mandated to install such a device and operates a motor vehicle that is not equipped with such a device, will lose his driving privileges for one year, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.19(a). Also, be aware that a person who tampers or in any way circumvents the operation of the interlock device in the vehicle commits a disorderly persons offense, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.19(b).

So, please be aware of the conditions of your license suspension time period as well as the conditions with regard to the installation of an ignition interlock device.   Failure to properly install or comply with the court order can affect your reinstatement of your license.  If you have any further questions, feel free to contact our office.