Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

NJ Senate proposed Bill 2427 would permit a restricted license for persons suspended for DWI to be able to drive to work. Ken Vercammen testified in favor of the “Restricted Driver’s license” Ken also testified in favor of changes to the ignition interlock law to permit persons who do not own a car to be able to get a drivers license back.


NJ Senate proposed Bill 2427 would permit a restricted license for persons suspended for DWI to be able to drive to work. Ken Vercammen testified in favor of the “Restricted Driver’s license” Ken also testified in favor of changes to the ignition interlock law to permit persons who do not own a car to be able to get a drivers license back. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-0 -1 in favor of Senate Bill No. 2427.
      This bill, as amended, revises penalties for various drunk-driving offenses.  These revisions include mandating the installation of an ignition interlock device in the motor vehicle owned, leased, or principally operated by the offender and the operation of such vehicle under a restricted use driver’s license, or alternatively, mandating the offender’s forfeiture of the right to operate a motor vehicle if the offender instead does not own or lease a motor vehicle and there is no vehicle the offender principally operates.
      Whenever a person commits the offense of driving under the influence (R.S.39: 50-4) or refusing to submit to a breath test (section 2 of P.L.1966, c.142 (C.39: 4-50.2)), the person would be required to install an ignition interlock device.  A court would first order the suspension of the person’s driver’s license for a period of 10 days, during which period the person would have to install the device, unless the person presented to the court at the time of sentencing satisfactory proof that a device is already installed, and additionally, for a second or subsequent offense, the person during this same 10-day period would be required to obtain a restricted use driver’s license with various court ordered driving restrictions, issued by the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission in order to operate the affected motor vehicle; if the person did not own or lease a motor vehicle and there was no vehicle the person principally operated, the court would instead order the person to forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State. 
      For a first offender whose blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10%, the device would remain installed for a period of not less than three months or more than six months, commencing immediately upon the restoration of the offender’s driver’s license after the 10-day period of license suspension or as indicated on the court order if no suspension occurs due to the prior installation of the device with satisfactory proof of installation to the court.  For a first offender whose blood alcohol concentration is 0.10% or higher, or for refusing to submit to a breath test, the device would remain installed for a period of not less than seven months or more than one year, again commencing immediately upon the restoration of the offender’s driver’s license after the 10-day period of license suspension or as indicated on the court order if no suspension occurs due to the prior installation of the device with satisfactory proof of installation to the court.  For a first offender who does not own or lease a motor vehicle, or if there is no motor vehicle the offender principally operates, the court would instead order forfeiture of the offender’s right to operate a motor vehicle, with the period of forfeiture being the same as the period for which the ignition interlock device would have been installed (not less than three months or more than six months; or not less than seven months or more than one year, if a higher blood alcohol concentration).
      For a second offender, regardless of the level of blood alcohol concentration, or for refusing to submit to a breath test, the device would remain installed for a period of not less than two years or more than four years, and the offender would be required to obtain a restricted use driver’s license, which the offender would use to operate the affected motor vehicle for at least the first year of the ignition interlock installation period but for not more than the maximum duration of that period, as ordered by the court.  The restricted use license would limit the offender to driving for the purpose of traveling to and from the offender’s place of employment or for pursuing employment, and as otherwise permitted as set forth in the court order.  For a second offender who does not own or lease a motor vehicle, or if there is no motor vehicle the offender principally operates, the period of forfeiture of the right to operate a motor vehicle on the second offense would be the same as the period for which the ignition interlock device would have been installed (not less than two years or more than four years).
      For a third and subsequent offender, regardless of the level of blood alcohol concentration, or for refusing to submit to a breath test, the device would remain installed for a period of not less than 10 years or more than 20 years, and the offender would be required to obtain a restricted use driver’s license, which the offender would use to operate the affected motor vehicle for at least the first year of the ignition interlock installation period but for not more than the maximum duration of that period, as ordered by the court.  The restricted use license would limit the offender to driving for the purpose of traveling to and from the offender’s place of employment or for pursuing employment, and as otherwise permitted as set forth in the court order.  For a third or subsequent offender who does not own or lease a motor vehicle, or if there is no motor vehicle the offender principally operates, the period of forfeiture of the right to operate a motor vehicle on the third or subsequent offense would be the same as the period for which the ignition interlock device would have been installed (not less than 10 years or more than 20 years).
      If the driving privilege of a person was already under revocation or suspension for a violation of Title 2C, New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, or Title 39, Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations, at the time of a conviction for a drunk driving offense, the above described 10-day period of license suspension and requirement to install an ignition interlock device would commence immediately, and the device would thereafter remain installed after the date of termination of that existing revocation or suspension for the specified installation period associated with a first, second, third, or subsequent offense; but the requirement to obtain a restricted use driver’s license, if applicable, would commence as of the date of termination of the existing revocation or suspension period.  In the case of any person who at the time of imposition of a sentence for driving under the influence is less than 17 years of age, the 10-day period of license suspension and requirement to install the device would likewise commence immediately, run through the offender’s 17th birthday, and continue from that date for the specified installation period associated with a first, second, third, or subsequent offense; but the requirement to obtain a restricted use driver’s license, if applicable, would commence as of the date of termination of the existing forfeiture, suspension, or revocation period.
      With respect to all cases for which a person has been ordered to install an ignition interlock device, the court would notify the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission.  The commission would thereafter require that the device be installed before issuance of a restricted use driver’s license or the reinstatement of the person’s driver’s license.  The commission would imprint a notation on the restricted use driver’s license or reinstated driver’s license stating that the person could not operate a motor vehicle unless it is equipped with an ignition interlock device, and would enter this requirement in the person's driving record.
      As to obtaining a restricted use driver’s license, a person would have to make an application to the chief administrator.  The person would have to certify in the application: (1) the vehicle in which the ignition interlock device is installed, as indicated in the court order issued pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1999, c.417 (C.39: 4-50.17), and include a copy of the court order with the application; (2) the person’s place of employment and the hours during which the person is employed, and the manner in which the person is required to operate a motor vehicle as a condition of employment, if applicable; (3) the hours during which, and the locations between which, it is necessary for the person to personally operate a motor vehicle; and (4) the person’s understanding of the limited driving conditions, set forth in the court order supplied with the application, for which the person is permitted to operate the motor vehicle in which the ignition interlock device is installed.  The chief administrator would issue the restricted use driver’s license upon satisfying all of the above criteria.
      The restricted use driver’s license would be in a form prescribed by the chief administrator and be issued in accordance with procedures established by the chief administrator.  The license would be of a color selected by the chief administrator, which readily distinguishes it from other driver's licenses issued by this State.  The chief administrator could impose a fee of not more than $25 for the issuance of a restricted use driver’s license.  Along with the restricted use driver’s license, the chief administrator would issue a restricted use driver’s placard to each approved licensee.  The licensee would be required to prominently display the placard in the rear window, or other location determined by the chief administrator, of the motor vehicle equipped with the ignition interlock device for which the restricted use driver’s license is issued.
      A person who fails to install an ignition interlock device as ordered by a court, or who drives a device-equipped vehicle after being started by means other than the person blowing into the device, or who drives an unequipped vehicle, would be guilty of a disorderly person’s offense.  A disorderly person’s offense is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.  Furthermore, the court would suspend the person’s driver’s license for the period of time associated with a person who does not own or lease a motor vehicle and there is no vehicle that person principally operates, except that the applicable period applied by the court would be the period for a second offense (not less than two years or more than four years) if the underlying act was committed by a first offender, and would be the period for a third or subsequent offense (not less than 10 years or more than 20 years) if the underlying act was committed by a second offender.
      Additionally, with respect to the restricted use driver’s license, a person would be guilty of a disorderly persons offense for: (1) deliberately falsifying an application for a restricted use driver’s license, including alteration of the court order supplied with the application; (2) operating the motor vehicle corresponding to the restricted use driver’s license in a manner that is inconsistent with the court order setting forth the conditions under which the license was obtained and to be used; (3) failing to maintain, while operating the motor vehicle, a copy of the court order, for presentation upon request by a law enforcement officer or other authority, setting forth the conditions for which the person is permitted to operate the motor vehicle, or failing to keep prominently displayed the restricted use driver’s placard on the motor vehicle for which the restricted use license is issued; or (4) operating any motor vehicle other than the motor vehicle for which the restricted use driver’s license is issued.  In addition to other available penalties under the law, the court would immediately suspend the person’s restricted use driver’s license and order the forfeiture of the person’s right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period that is the equivalent of the period of forfeiture imposed upon a person for driving under the influence (R.S.39:4-50) who does not own or lease a motor vehicle and there is no vehicle the person principally operates, except that the applicable period applied by the court would be the period for a third or subsequent offense (not less than 10 years or more than 20 years).
      The bill also addresses periods of incarceration and community service requirements for persons who commit multiple offenses generally (but not those more serious offenses that occur on school property or involve driving through a school crossing (detailed in subsection (g) of R.S.39:4-50)).  Under the bill, a person with a second drunk driving related offense would be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not more than 90 days, except that the court could lower this term for each day served participating in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.  Similarly, while a person with a third or subsequent drunk driving offense would be sentenced to imprisonment, the court could also lower this term for each day served participating in an approved drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program.  In both instances, there would be no cap on the potential number of days reduced from the term of imprisonment.  As to community service requirements, the bill would establish that a person with a third or subsequent drunk driving offense be required to perform community service for a period of not less than 60 days, which would be in the form and on the terms as the court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances; this exceeds the current requirement placed upon a person with a second offense, which is the performance of community service for a period of 30 days. 
      The committee amendments to the bill:
      - update the bill’s title and synopsis to more accurately reflect the substantive provisions set forth in the bill, as amended;
      - establish that a court would order a drunk driving offender to a 10-day period of license suspension, during which period the offender would have to install an ignition interlock device, unless the offender presented satisfactory proof to the court at the time of sentencing that a device was already installed;
      - establish, for a second or subsequent offense, that the person additionally during the same 10-day period of license suspension would be required to obtain a restricted use driver’s license with various court ordered driving restrictions, issued by the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission, in order to operate the affected motor vehicle upon which the ignition interlock device is installed;
      - require that the restricted use driver’s license would be required to operate the affected motor vehicle for at least the first year of the installation period but for not more than the maximum duration of that period, as ordered by the court;
      - set forth the application process in order to obtain and use a restricted use driver’s license, as described above;
      - clarify that an offender, who does not own or lease a motor vehicle and there is no vehicle being principally operated, would as an alternative to the use of an ignition interlock device and restricted use driver’s license, be subject to a forfeiture of the right to operate any motor vehicle over the highways of this State, for the periods described above;
      - update the penalties for an offender whose driving privileges had already been revoked or suspended for a violation of Title 2C, New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, or Title 39, Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations, as described above;
      - update the penalties for an offender who is less than 17 years of age at the time of imposition of the sentence, as described above;
      - make consistent, for driving under the influence (R.S.39:50-4) or for refusing to submit to a breath test (section 2 of P.L.1966, c.142 (C.39:4-50.2), the applicable periods of installation of an ignition interlock device and use of a restricted use driver’s license, as well as the alternative forfeiture periods for those offenders who do not own or lease a motor vehicle and there is no vehicle being principally operated;
      - reestablish, as an enforcement mechanism, that the Motor Vehicle Commission would require that an ignition installation device be installed before a suspended license could be reinstated by the commission for first offenders who need not obtain a restricted use driver’s license, and expand this requirement to the newly established restricted use driver’s license, so that second and subsequent offenders required to obtain the restricted license would be required to demonstrate installation of the ignition interlock device prior to receiving the license;
      - provide that with respect to a failure to install an ignition interlock device, or for driving a device-equipped vehicle after being started by means other than the appropriate person blowing into the device, or for driving an unequipped vehicle, the offender would face enhanced penalties as part of the disorderly persons offense for such action, as described above;
      - provide that with respect to violations concerning the application for a restricted use driver’s license or for the operation of a motor vehicle using such a license, the offender would be subject to a disorderly persons offense and face enhanced penalties, as described above;
      - allow for a second, third, or subsequent offender to have a court reduce the offender’s term of imprisonment for each day served participating in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, with no cap on the potential number of days reduced from the term; and
      - establish that a person with a third or subsequent drunk driving offense would be required to perform community service for a period of not less than 60 days, which would be in the form and on the terms as the court would deem appropriate.