The New Jersey Legislature is once again considering changing our DWI statute. The current proposed legislation would require that EVERYONE convicted of DWI be required to install an ignition interlock device in their car. As it stands, the law requires this device for first time offenders whose blood alcohol is .15% or higher and all second and thrid offenders. There is also a suggestion that the maximum suspension for a first-offender be REDUCED to sixty days.
According to some research, the interlock device is far better than an actual license suspension at stopping convicted drunk-drivers from driving. The main impetus behind the continued driving, at least according to my experience (and simple common sense), is that people need to get to work. If you needed to feed your family, pay your mortgage, etc, would YOU stop driving? Exactly.
I think what really needs to be done here is that the legislature needs to make a provision allowing first-time offenders with a low-enough BAC to be able to continue to drive to work. New Jersey is one of only two states that does not allow some type of "work license" which allows first offenders to maintain their livlihood by letting them to drive to work.
I am not condoning drunk driving. Rather, I am advocating for a more graduated scale of punishment, one that is more realistic. Anyone can have a casual cocktail or two and be over the legal limit. Do we really want to ruin this person's life?