Must you install an interlock device after a DWI conviction?

Because New Jersey law prohibits driving while impaired, you should always arrange a sober ride home before heading out for a night on the town. After all, if prosecutors secure a DWI conviction, you may face a variety of legal penalties and other consequences. 

Even for a first-time DWI conviction, you may have to install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle you drive. The device requires you to provide an alcohol-free breath sample before starting your vehicle and a few times during your trip. 

How long must the device be on your vehicle?

The length of your ignition interlock obligation depends on your blood alcohol concentration at the time of your arrest. If you are a first-time DWI offender with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.10%, you likely must have an interlock device on your car for three months. 

If your BAC was between 0.10% and 0.15%, you probably must keep the device on your vehicle for between seven and 10 months. For a BAC above 0.15%, you may face a driver’s license suspension and then an interlock requirement that ranges from nine to 15 months. 

How much do interlock devices cost?

New Jersey law requires DWI offenders to foot the bill for installing interlock devices on every vehicle they drive. Initial installation on a single vehicle may cost $200 or more. 

You also must pay ongoing monitoring and calibration costs. Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates these to be between $2.50 and $3.50 per day for the duration of your interlock obligation. 

Because even a three-month interlock requirement may cost you more than $500, defending yourself aggressively against DWI charges may save you a considerable amount of money. 

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