Interviewer: For a first time DWI conviction, how long is the license suspension?
Tom Chaves: The minimum is 3 months if the blood alcohol reading is 0.08% to 0.09%, for readings .10% and above 7 months.
Interviewer: What about 0.15% or above; same thing?
Tom Chaves: No. Any BAC of .15% or more requires that a person install an interlock device in their car in order to start it.
The Ignition Interlock Device Must be Installed Immediately Upon Conviction
Interviewer: The interlock comes on after they get their license back, right?
Tom Chaves: No, it does not. It has to be put on immediately upon conviction because they don’t want people to be driving the vehicle while they’re suspended.
The Average Cost of Maintaining an Installed Ignition Interlock Device is $75 per Month
Interviewer: How much is the interlock cost to have it installed and what’s the monthly fee?
Tom Chaves: It varies. There are only a certain number of companies, they are authorized vendors and basically, you can’t buy the interlock device. What you do essentially is you lease it or rent it from one of these companies. Each of them charges slightly different fees, so for example, some of the companies will charge to install it; some companies will not charge to install it.
The Typical Period Required for the Interlock Ignition Device is 13 Months
Interviewer: How long is the interlock requirement period for 0.15 or above BAC?
Tom Chaves: Six months, that’s after license restoration. But what I’m saying is it is 13 months. That’s the minimum because if you’re suspended for 7 months, and you have to install it immediately during the 7 months period, that’s 7 is right there, and then if the period of the interlock device has to be on for six months, you’re really talking about 13 months, you’re not talking about 6 months.
The Insurance Costs for a DWI Offender Can Potentially Triple in New Jersey
Interviewer: You talked about insurance, not renewing and going up, how much on average can they go up?
Tom Chaves: It depends on the driver’s history and I would say it can easily triple for most people and then you get put into a high risk tier of insurance which a lot of companies do not even write to high risk tier people conversely, there are some categories that specialize in these high risk tier people but they charge very high rates.