Accused of Ignoring an Order to Install an Ignition Interlock Device in NJ? Facing Charges for Attempting to Bypass or Tamper with the Machine?
An ignition interlock device must be installed on the vehicles of those convicted of DWI or if they refuse to be tested chemically in New Jersey. The Interlock device measures the blood alcohol level of the driver. A small cartridge that connects to a vehicle’s steering column requires the driver to blow into the device before starting the car, similar to a breathalyzer machine. The car will start if the driver blows 0.5% or less. If the BAC is more significant than 0.05%, the vehicle will not start. Once the driver is on their way, the machine will sound an alarm from time to time for a retest. The driver must pull over and stop to conduct the test. If the test is failed or skipped, an alarm will sound, the vehicle’s horn will sound, and the lights will flash to alert the authorities. Several years ago, the device would cut off the engine due to a skipped or failed test, but there were safety concerns, so that feature was scrapped.
Before the end of 2019, DWI offenders would usually have their licenses suspended for anywhere from 3 months to 10 years, depending on the number of their convictions. There was no flexibility in the suspension of driver’s licenses. The 1st offense was a suspension from 3 months to a year. The second offense increased to one to two years. The third time DWI would mean a 10-year suspension. There were no exceptions or permits to drive to work or medical appointments. Moreover, strict laws with mandatory jail time did little to hinder DWI offenders. New Jersey, determined to prevent the thousands of DWI-related deaths every year, chose to use the interlock ignition device, adjusting the penalties for DWI offenses and forcing all convicted offenders of driving while intoxicated to install these machines in their primary vehicles. According to recent studies, thousands of drunk drivers have been thwarted from using their cars while under the influence.
Interfering with, Bypassing, or Ignoring an Order to Install an Interlock Ignition Device in New Jersey
Those required to provide a breath sample must have the device installed in their car before driving. Individuals convicted or plead guilty to DWI must complete a form for the court indicating the vehicle that will have the interlock device installed. A new license plate will be issued with an interlock device requirement for the car. If the driver pulled over is not the person assigned to the device, the assigned driver could lose their driving privileges for a year. Additionally, lending, leasing, or renting a vehicle to someone who must drive with an interlock device is against the law. Those who do so are subject to criminal charges.
In addition, tampering with an interlock device is never a good idea unless you seek more charges and penalties. Any attempt to alter, disconnect, remove, or disable the device is tampering. Attempting to bypass the device with an alternative power source, using chemicals to lower the device’s BAC readings, or providing false samples (someone else breathes into the device) are all considered tampering. Purposefully blowing for less time, using compressed air, blowing too softly, and using machines to mimic or alter breath samples are not allowed. Borrowing, renting, buying, or leasing a car for the purpose of avoiding the use of an interlock device is also against the law. The most common form of tampering is using mouthwashes, specific foods, or gum to lower the BAC, most of which actually increase it.
Ignored Ignition Interlock Device Installation Requirements
If a driver refuses to put an interlock ignition device in their owned or leased car, their driver’s license will be suspended for one year. This suspension is additional to any other suspensions or revocations related to pending or prior charges.
What am I Facing for Tampering with an Ignition Interlock Device?
As for interlock-related charges involving attempts to tamper with the device, these disorderly persons offenses carry a possible 6-month jail term or five years’ probation. Fines can be charged as high as $1,000.
What Are the Legal Complications if Someone Else Activates the Device?
A form of tampering known as bypassing is when the owner of the interlock device allows someone else to blow into the device to obtain a low BAC reading. This action is a disorderly persons charge carrying a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail for both participants.
Charged with Ignition Interlock Device Violations in Essex County NJ
A DUI charge is serious, and if you have an ignition interlock device, it behooves you to avoid any BAC measurements that are above the machine’s limit. There are explanations for false positives, such as poor calibration, diet, smoking, mouthwash, etc., and charges for refusing to install an interlock or attempting to tamper with the device entail heavy ramifications. The attorneys at our law firm know how frustrating it can be to follow all the rules and still get dinged by the system, or to be accused of violating the ignition interlock orders in your DWI case. We can help you establish a solid argument and provide the excellent representation you require. If you are facing interlock violations in Belleville, Bloomfield, Verona, West Caldwell, Livingston, Millburn, Bloomfield, Short Hills, Montclair, or elsewhere in Essex County, contact our firm immediately to get started on your defense. Call us at 201-654-3464 for a free consultation.