Changes may be in store for New Jersey’s DWI laws

Like many other states in the country, repeat offenders who are guilty of driving while intoxicated in New Jersey are subject to harsh sanctions. However, unlike most states, DWI is not considered a crime in New Jersey and offenders will most likely not be facing any serious jail time. Instead, the courts rely heavily on hefty fines. However, even when faced with suspended licenses and large payments, many DWI offenders continue to not only drive but continue to do so while under the influence of alcohol.

That is why, according to, some people are advocating for harsher penalties for those guilty of putting innocent people in danger by driving while intoxicated. Paying fines, they argue, is not enough of a deterrent to stop people from driving drunk. A bill was passed by the Legislature last year that would require first time offenders to use an ignition interlock device. However, despite support by both the National Motorists Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the bill was ultimately vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

The National Transportation Safety Board wants to go even further, reports New Jersey 101.5. The NTSB thinks the current legal limit for blood alcohol content of .08 is too high. A person starts to become impaired before they make it to .08, the NTSB argues. Therefore, the standard should be lowered to .05.

While it is true that a person is 38 percent more likely to crash with a BAC of .05, the potential increases to 200 percent when his or her BAC reaches .08. That represents a huge statistical difference, opponents argue. It remains to be seen whether New Jersey or any other states consider taking the NTSB’s recommendation and changing the legal limit for impairment any time soon.

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