Gov. Christie Sends Back DWI Legislation

Governor Chris Christie has rejected legislation that would have allowed for DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle after conviction for a DUI offense.  Currently, the law in New Jersey requires a period of suspension for offenders drivers license, anywhere from 3 months to one year. No restricted license to and from work, as is the case in New York, Illinois and California, is permitted.  The proposed legislation Governor Christie rejected would allow for no suspension of the drivers license if the DUI offender obtained a breathalyzer in their vehicle for a certain period of time.  Governor Christie sent it back to the legislature indicating that he would like to see a mix between the two: a period of suspension followed by a breathalyzer in the vehicle requirement.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving supported the legislation.  Other proponents of the legislation argue that people disregard the license suspension and begin to drink and drive which would be impossible with the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in the vehicle.


California has a similar scheme where in select counties, a 1st offender is ordered to obtain an IID in their vehicle, but only after a period of suspension has occurred. Their is currently legislation before the California State Senate that would extend this requirement to all persons convicted of a 1st offense DUI throughout the State, according to Sacramento DUI Attorney Michael Rehm.


The State of New York currently has no breathalyzer in the vehicle requirement, preferring the suspension approach. New York will provide a restricted license however, to drive to and from work.  California also allows for driving to work, after a period of complete suspension. New Jersey currently only provides for a suspension, no restricted license to work allowed.

Illinois Considers Changing DUI Related Drivers License Suspension

The Illinois State Bar Association has asked a state task force to change the current laws regarding drivers license suspension for DUI offenders, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

Currently, on a 1st Offense DUI, the drivers license’s suspension is six months, with the first 30 days acting as a “hard” suspension, whereas the next five months allows for driving privileges if an ignition interlock device (IID) is installed the vehicle. The Illinois State Bar Association, with the support of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is asking that the 30 day “hard” suspension be eliminated and offenders be eligible to obtain their right to drive to work immediately if a Breathalyzer is installed in their vehicle.

The article explained that in certain town courts throughout Illinois it is not uncommon for deals to be cut where the offender does not lose their license, in exchange for extraordinary high amount of fines, a practice that gives off the appearance of impropriety for the justice system and allows offenders to never lose their license at all.

The overall trend in the country currently is for those convicted to be able to keep their ability to drive, at a minimum to work, as long as the breathalyzer is installed.  This is a change from the original movement that emphasized the license suspension was a major deterrent effect to committing the crime in the first place.