DWI: Ignition-Lock Device instead of License Suspension? | Toms River Attorney

A bill was approved by the Senate panel on Monday, January 28, 2013, that would make the mandatory installation of ignition-interlock devices the main penalty in most drunk-driving matters rather than license suspension. The bill was advanced by a 12-0 vote, with one abstention.

Under the bill, first-time DUI offenders could continue driving their vehicles as long as the mandated ignition-interlock devices are installed. Ignition interlock devices allow the vehicle to start if the driver produces a clean breath sample. The devices typically require intermittent samples to allow the continued operation of the vehicle as well. Second or subsequent DWI offenders would need a restricted-use license which would allow only work-related or other driving travel set by a judge for at least the first year the interlock device is installed in the offender’s vehicle.

If you’ve been charged with a DWI (also known as Driving Under the Influence, or DUI), you should contact an experienced attorney. The Law Offices of Apicelli & Costanzo provides aggressive representation against all DWI and traffic offenses. We are dedicated to mitigating the adverse consequences posed by DWI and motor vehicle offenses. Our firm has represented many clients that have received traffic summonses in the municipal courts of Toms River, Ocean County, and across the entire State of New Jersey. Contact us, and let us assist you in protecting your rights.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and is neither intended nor should it be interpreted to be legal advice or opinion.

No More Red Light Cameras in New Jersey, citing Accident Increases | Toms River Attorney

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has compiled accident data which shows that red light camera ticketing systems lead to more accidents, more injuries, and greater cost. Although the ultimate goal of red light cameras was to reduce injuries from right-angle crashes which are considered the most dangerous type of collisions which could result from running a red light, Senator Mike Doherty confirmed that both the number and total cost of accidents have increased since the cameras were installed. Senator Doherty is sponsoring Bill S1952 which seeks to repeal the traffic control signal monitoring system pilot program and to prohibit future use of red light cameras in the State of New Jersey.

“Before our pilot program even started, we knew from the experiences of other states that red light cameras are great at generating revenue for the government but are bad at making dangerous intersections safer for drivers,” said Doherty. “It is absolutely no surprise that red light cameras in New Jersey have failed, just as they have everywhere else, in achieving their stated goal of improving driver safety. This complete failure to achieve that primary goal of increasing driver safety should lead to the immediate termination of the red light camera pilot program.”

Twenty-four intersections in New Jersey have had red light cameras in operation for at least one full year. At those intersections, the number of right-angle accidents decreased by 15% (60 to 51), when comparing accident data from the year before the red light cameras were installed. Although this statistic initially seems positive, the severity of right-angle crashes increased, leading to more accidents involving injuries (31 versus 21) and $444,800 in increased cost.

Although the data suggests that the deterrent effect of red light cameras does not prevent right-angle accidents, the deterrent effect of red light cameras does appear to increase the number of rear-end accidents. Rear-end crashes increased by 20% (286 to 343) after red light cameras were installed, which resulted in more injuries (84 versus 74) and $728,000 in increased cost. This is because if drivers are aware of a red light camera at an intersection, they tend to unnecessarily slam on their brakes at yellow lights to avoid getting a ticket for running a red light, resulting in rear-end collisions from vehicles following too closely behind.

Overall, the total number of accidents at the 24 intersections increased from 577 to 582, with a total increased cost of nearly $1.2 million, after red light cameras were installed. The data was released as part of the “Report on Red-Light Traffic Control Signal Monitoring Systems—Second Annual Report” by the NJDOT as required by the law which established the state’s five-year pilot program to determine the effectiveness of red light cameras.

“If the Legislature does not move to immediately terminate the pilot program in light of the new data confirming that cameras make intersections more dangerous, that will be positive proof that the real purpose of red light cameras is to give government another way to reach into your pocket through tickets and fines,” added Doherty. “People across New Jersey should demand that their legislators support an immediate repeal of the red light camera pilot program. Even if your town doesn’t currently have cameras installed as part of the pilot program, they may show up in a few years if you don’t act now.”

What are your thoughts on red light cameras?

There could be many ramifications to appearing in municipal court without first consulting an attorney. It is important that you are fully aware of all of your rights. Our Toms River attorneys take great pride in aggressive representation against all traffic tickets and motor vehicle offenses. Our firm is dedicated to mitigating the adverse consequences posed by motor vehicle offenses, DWI’s (DUI), and traffic tickets. You should consult one of our Toms River lawyers if you are charged with a traffic ticket, motor vehicle, or municipal offense.

Bill S1750: Ignition interlock devices for first-time DWI offenders in New Jersey

Bill S1750: Ignition interlock devices for first-time DWI offenders in New Jersey

New Jersey lawmakers seek to make ignition interlock devices mandatory for all first time Driving While Intoxicated (DWI/DUI/Driving Under the Influence) offense. On June 21, 2012, Bill S1750 (The Bill) was to be voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Current law states that these ignition interlock devices are mandatory only for repeat DWI/DUI offenders and first-time offenders with a Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) of 0.15% or higher. The bill would amend current law by making ignition interlock devices mandatory for first-time offenders convicted of DWI/DUI. If a DWI/DUI offender accumulates three (3) DWI/DUI convictions, the bill would require the offender to have the ignition interlock device for life.

Bill S1750 also proposes to lessen fines associated with DWI/DUI as well as shorten the length of driver’s license suspension to a maximum of sixty (60) days. The goal of these changes, according to some New Jersey senators, is to remove drunk drivers from the road while punishing them less. The reasoning behind this is that for those who live in suburbia, driving is a necessity—necessary to keep their jobs. This bill would allow all DWI/DUI offenders to be able to keep driving even in the face of a DWI/DUI conviction.

It is rumored that Bill S1750 was pulled prior to vote because a loophole existed that did not cover enough alternatives to the interlocking devices if the offender did not own a vehicle. One alternative was that a person convicted of DWI/DUI would be allowed only to drive vehicles that had the ignition interlock device installed. The bill is rumored to reappear for vote sometime in the fall of 2012.

If you are charged with a DWI/DUI or a traffic ticket or municipal offense, call an experienced Toms River attorney at the Law Offices of Apicelli & Costanzo. One of our Toms River lawyers can help you protect your rights and assist in mitigating the harsh consequences of DWI/DUI and traffic ticket convictions.

What are ignition interlock devices?

Ignition interlock devices are installed on a motor vehicle’s dashboard. The driver must first exhale into the device before the vehicle’s motor can start. If the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (“BAC”) is greater than the programmed BAC—usually 0.02% or 0.04%—the device will prevent the engine from starting.

An interesting fact about ignition interlock devices is that at random times after the engine has been started and while the vehicle is being driven, the ignition interlock device will require another breath sample. This is to prevent a driver from bringing alcohol into the car and consuming it after being successful in starting the engine. If the driver’s BAC is higher than the programmed BAC of the interlock ignition device, the device will make a record of the event, warn the driver, and then start the vehicle’s alarm (flashing lights and intermittent horn-honking) until the vehicle is pulled over and the ignition turned off or a breath sample under the allowable BAC is provided.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and is neither intended nor should it be interpreted to be legal advice or opinion.

Municipal Court Corner: DWI conviction without Breathalyzer testing

Decide to drive after only a few drinks, but thought you wouldn’t blow greater than a 0.08%? Think you were safe because the breathalyzer is the only way to get caught drinking and driving? Think again, because you could easily find yourself in municipal court.

In New Jersey, you can be convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) two different ways: operating a motor vehicle (1) under the influence or (2) with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) greater than 0.08%. N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Basically, this means that you do not have to blow greater than 0.08% to be convicted of a DWI.

This is how this could happen: the arresting police officer testifies as to your state of sobriety; he will attest to his observations made about your driving, conduct, demeanor, and ability to perform field sobriety tests and how you smelled, looked, talked, and acted. So even if you had a small amount to drink and maybe wouldn’t have a BAC greater than 0.08%, you could still be convicted of a drunk driving ticket.

If you’ve been charged with a DWI (also known as Driving Under the Influence, or DUI), you should contact an experienced attorney. The Law Offices of Apicelli & Costanzo can provide aggressive representation against all DWI and traffic offenses. We are dedicated to mitigating the adverse consequences posed by DWI and motor vehicle offenses. Our firm has represented many clients that have received traffic summonses in the municipal courts of Toms River, Ocean County, and across the entire State of New Jersey. Contact us, and let us assist you in protecting your rights.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and is neither intended nor should it be interpreted to be legal advice or opinion.