New Jersey repeat DUI offenders on notice

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, June 06, 2013

Multiple bills at the New Jersey statehouse are of interest to truckers and others using roadways throughout the state.

Repeat drunk driving offenders could soon face harsher penalties for their actions.

New Jersey law now limits punishment for affected offenders to a traffic offense. Bail typically is set at $2,500.

The traffic offense designation allows drivers charged with drunken driving to continue to drive while awaiting their court date.

Awaiting consideration on the Assembly floor is a bill to end that practice. Instead, A3057 would boost punishment for a person convicted of driving under the influence two times or more within 60 days to a fourth-degree crime. Specifically, offenders would face up to 18 months in prison and/or up to $10,000 fines.

License suspensions would also result for repeat offenders. In addition, judges could impose bail of up to $10,000.

The bill follows a case in Vineland, NJ, where a man was arrested for drunken driving five times in five weeks while awaiting a court date for his initial infraction.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland, said the rule change would help address a problem that is unacceptable.

“Everyone can make a mistake, but when it’s done repeatedly, especially in a relatively close time frame, it’s clear that the person has a problem and should be dealt with quickly both for their own sake and the safety of others,” Burzichelli said in a previous statement.

If approved on the Assembly floor, A3057 would move to the Senate for further consideration.

Assembly lawmakers already approved another bill that would benefit New Jersey truckers and motorists with diabetes. Specifically, A945 would allow affected drivers to voluntarily note the condition on their driver’s license.

The “Insulin Dependent Diabetic” notation is intended to aid emergency personnel in providing proper care if the person is unable to communicate.

The bill is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

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