NEW BRUNSWICK — Sobriety checkpoints will continue in Middlesex County due to a state grant.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said the checkpoints have operated since 1985 and are "an important deterrent to impaired driving" that help prevent serious accidents and save lives.

A $36,300 grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety will cover the costs of salaries and equipment through September 2017.

DWI first offenders whose blood-alcohol content registers between 0.08 percent and 0.01 percent can be put in jail for up to 30 days and may lose their driving privileges for seven months to a year. Those convicted with a blood-alcohol readings of more than 0.15 percent must install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Fines and legal fees can cost motorists as much as $15,000.

Second-time offenders must be jailed for at least 48 hours and can be incarcerated for up to 90 days, with a loss of driver’s license for two years.

The United States Supreme Court in 1990 ruled that "the interest in reducing alcohol-impaired driving was sufficient to justify the brief intrusion of a sobriety checkpoint. If conducted properly, sobriety checkpoints do not constitute illegal search and seizure in most states," the state Attorney General's website notes.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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