New Jersey DWI Bill Puts the Focus on Repeat Offenders

Drunk driving can be a serious offense in New Jersey, and it may become even more serious with new legislation. It is not uncommon for state government to review its existing laws and potentially alter the penalty guidelines for the laws depending on social advocacy groups.

When social concerns impact a change in legislation, it is generally the result of a large social impact, but it often sparks from a single incident. One man’s actions many have been the catalyst for New Jersey’s new drunk driving legislation.

The New Jersey man who may have been the catalyst for harsher drunk driving penalties was charged with five counts of intoxicated driving. The five counts of driving while intoxicated occurred within the short period of time between April and May of 2012. Included in the five driving while intoxicated charges is an incident wherein the man collided with a police officer and another that occurred five days after being released from jail for a previous DWI charge.

Following the multiple charges, an Assembly bill was proposed regarding criminal penalties for driving while intoxicated. The state Assembly Panel recently approved the bill. The bill proposes an increase in criminal penalties for multiple driving while intoxicated charges in instances where the actual driving while intoxicated incidents happened within a two-month timeframe.

The bill’s proposal is that if someone is charged with more than one driving while intoxicated offenses within two months, the individual would face a fourth-degree criminal charge in addition to other charges. The addition of the fourth degree criminal charge carries a penalty of $10,000 bail and suspension of the individual’s driver’s license.

Source:, “After South Jersey man gets 5 DWIs, bill advances to stiffen penalties for repeat offenders,” Alex Young, Feb. 7, 2013

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