New Jersey Interlock Program
Effective December 1, 2019, all DWI and Refusal convictions now require installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in a motor vehicle owned, leased, or principally operated by the driver. Proof of IID installation is required to get driving privileges restored. The IID is a hand-held device that is connected to the starter/ignition of any vehicle. Once installed, the vehicle’s engine will not start until its driver has exhaled into the machine and registered a breath alcohol content (BrAc) below a certain limit. In New Jersey, that limit is 0.05%.
Will I Be Given An Ignition Interlock Device?
In addition to license suspension, monetary penalties, and alcohol education, judges must sentence first, second, and third-time DWI offenders to install an ignition interlock device.
On a first offense, the device must be installed by the convicted person at the time of conviction and prior to the restoration of driving privileges. On a first offense under 0.10%, the interlock must be installed upon conviction, and proof of installation shown to MVC to obtain a new license with “Interlock” imprinted on it, with the IID remaining installed for the next 3 months. For a first offense between 0.10% and 0.15%, the interlock must be installed in order to get the license restored, and must remain installed for 7 to 12 months. For convictions 0.15% and above, proof of interlock installation must be shown for the 4 to 6 month suspension period to begin and must remain installed for 9 to 15 months after the suspension is completed.
For second and third offenses, the IID must be installed prior to restoration of the license after suspension and remain installed for 2 to 4 years.
What About Other Cars?
The driver sentenced under this law cannot drive any vehicle, including work vehicles, that do not have the device installed. New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) will imprint a notation on your driver’s license making this prohibition clear, and they will enter the requirement on your driving record.
What Happens If I Don’t Use It?
The penalty for driving a vehicle without the device, or for starting the car by some way other than blowing into the device, is one year additional suspension of driving privileges.
If someone blows into the device for you, that person is subject to a criminal “disorderly person” complaint, with penalties that can include a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
Tampering with the device is also a criminal disorderly person’s offense.
Do I Have To Pay For It?
Yes, if you are sentenced to install an interlock device, you have to pay for its installation and cover a monthly leasing fee for the product.
While prices vary, expect to pay up between $75 and $100 every month for the leasing fee, a removal fee, and costs along the way for violations from blowing attempts above the 0.05% limit.
A list of breath alcohol ignition interlock devices (BAIID) certified by the MVC, and the service centers where the BAIIDs may be obtained and serviced, can be requested by contacting MVC at the following address:
- New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
PO Box 134
Trenton, NJ 08625-0134