NJ’s new DWI law is an unfair slap on the wrist (Opinion)
It’s not that these car breathalyzers known as ignition interlock devices had never been used in NJ before, but Friday the law was signed by Gov Murphy making them mandatory for all drunk driving offenders including first-timers and those with .08 bac. This is big news, and all the finer points can be learned here.
It’s not that I’m against the devices, but I’m against this change in the law. For along with the ignition interlock requirement comes a huge loosening of license suspensions.
Upon signing Murphy said, “License suspensions are an imperfect tool for accomplishing both aims, as they do not stop drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and they can prevent ex-offenders from supporting their livelihoods.”
Yes, a suspended license can make it hard to get to work. Yes, a suspended license can make it hard to take care of your family. Isn’t this why it’s a good deterrent? As for this argument of ‘people drive anyway,’ guess what? People murder anyway, people rob anyway, but we don’t eliminate the laws and punishments. And not everyone wants the double trouble of being caught driving while suspended and they will comply.
Suspensions that were 3 months are cut to only 30 days. 7 to 12 month suspensions are cut to 45 days. For an offense as serious as drinking and driving couldn’t we have done both? Maintain punitive license suspensions as deterrent then mandate the ignition interlock devices once allowed to drive again? It’s what former Gov. Christie argued for and he was right. This is turning drunk driving into fewer consequences. Closer to a slap on the wrist. It’s the law now, but was it right? Take our poll.
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