Friday, May 11, 2012

Pending Change to NJ DUI Laws

Loss of license in NJ may bear less severe consequences if newly proposed legislation is passed. This legislation, currently pending in the New Jersey Senate, will supplement the NJ DUI/DWI Statute(N.J.S.A. 39:3-40) by incorporating an allowance for a "restricted use license." Often, for those convicted of driving under the influence, loss of license is the most severe penalty, far outweighing fines and other penalties. For most working adults, especially those supporting families, loss of license directly impacts one's ability to earn a living by limiting or eliminating their ability to get to their place of work. For drivers who rely on a CDL for a living, the hardship is even greater. The restricted use license was eliminated in NJ years ago in an effort to enhance the penalty for driving while intoxicated. In today's economy jobs are hard to get and keep. Also, those enrolled in an educational program whose matriculation depends upon attendance in a classroom or facility may also be eligible for a restricted license if this legislation is passed. A CDL driver needing to operate a vehicle as a condition of employment may also apply for this license. In order to obtain this provisional license, an individual would need to provide job or school information including hours and location. No public transportation to the applicant's job may exist within 1 mile of the applicant's residence. There must also be proof that no other reasonable means of transportation exists. The key factor will likely be a showing of financial hardship if the applicant is unable to personally operate a vehicle. Other criteria will include the circumstances surrounding the DUI and the probability of another offense by the applicant. Once again, this legislation is pending and will likely encounter substantial opposition but it does indicate a recognition of the hardships faced by NJ drivers as a result of a DUI conviction. For more information on DUI and other municipal court charges in NJ, visit

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