New Jersey's new impaired driving law takes a pragmatic approach to alcoholism and substance abuse by requiring most first offenders convicted of a DWI to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Before the law took effect on December 1, many DWI offenders had their licenses suspended as a consequence of their first offense. But supporters of the new law agree that implementing ignition interlock devices - in-car breathalyzers that immobilize a vehicle if the driver's breath registers too much alcohol - instead is a fairer punishment.
Once convicted of a DWI reading below 0.15%, New Jersey drivers will be required to keep an ignition lock in their vehicles for three months to a year and blow in it every time they wish to start the engine. If a driver has a BAC of 0.05% or above, the car won't start. Ignition interlock devices have been used in New Jersey for awhile now, but have only been assigned to repeat DWI offenders or first-timers with incredibly high BACs. But now New Jersey has hopped on the bandwagon of requiring the installation of the devices the first time around, a rule that 34 other states have already adopted.
How The New Law Impacts Child Custody
This is wonderful news for divorced parents who deal with substance abuse. It can be nerve-wracking to drop your child off for a weekend or a few days with the other parent when you're used to always doing things as a family. Substance abuse and addiction only increase the anxiety one parent may feel towards the other parent who is struggling to reach sobriety.
Now, parents can relax because they know their child won't be in a vehicle while the other parent is inebriated or otherwise impaired, and they also don't have to worry about the other parent driving on a suspended license to fulfill the basic needs their child requires.
People who oppose the law claim that parents can still game the system and avoid using an interlock device, like borrowing another car or renting a vehicle. This is a reality, but for many instances of custody disputes where substance abuse is an issue, the new law could be a step in the right direction of ensuring a child's best interests are prioritized and preserved.
The Lento Law Firm is Here to Help
If you're going through a divorce and need an attorney to represent you in your child custody case, you've come to the right place. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent close to 20 years passionately advocating for clients in your situation. For a consultation, contact him online or by phone at 888-535-3686.