The Kugel Law Firm's Blog

Can I get a conditional license if I’m convicted of a New Jersey DWI/DUI?

Posted on July 7, 2023


In New Jersey, there’s no such thing as a traditional conditional or hardship license or privilege. If convicted of a DWI/DUI, it used to mean a hardcore suspension regardless of whether it was a first, 2nd, or third DWI offense. However, the law changed in December of 2019. And now if you have a first offense DWI/DUI and a blood alcohol reading of less than .15 you’ll actually be allowed to install and maintain an ignition interlock device and once installed, the department of motor vehicles will give you a special interlock license that will allow you to drive without any conditions on time or place during the pendency of the installation requirement. 

So once the device is actually removed, you’ll be able to go back to motor vehicles and get your full regular license without any interlock requirement. So, after 2019, the law at least as to first offenders got a lot freer in terms of your ability to drive even after a DWI/DUI conviction. It can still be confusing and tough to navigate the system to get the best result and avoid a lengthy interlock requirement. In addition, there are defenses that exist that could save you from the DWI/DUI conviction(and the collateral consequences that go with it) altogether.

Getting the assistance of a knowledgeable New Jersey DUI attorney can provide you with a sense of comfort when dealing with your case. At Kugel Law Firm, we have a team of experienced DUI attorneys who can guide you through the legal process of your DUI case. They possess the required expertise and legal knowledge to construct a robust legal defense to ensure the best possible result for your case. To book a free strategy session, please call (973) 854-0098.

What is a Hardship License

A hardship license, also known as a conditional license, serves as a special driving permit issued to individuals who have had their regular driver’s license suspended or revoked due to alcohol or drug-related incidents. This license allows eligible drivers to resume driving with certain conditions and restrictions imposed by the court. However, it’s important to note that the availability and regulations surrounding hardship licenses can vary from state to state.

In New Jersey, residents do not have the option to obtain hardship or conditional licenses. Unlike other states, where individuals facing license suspensions or revocations can apply for a hardship license to regain limited driving privileges, New Jersey has stricter regulations in place. The state aims to prioritize responsible driving practices and ensure overall road safety. Consequently, if someone in New Jersey has their driving privileges suspended or revoked, they are not allowed to operate a vehicle under any circumstances.

In such situations, residents of New Jersey must comply with the court’s restrictions and explore alternative transportation methods until their driving privileges are reinstated. It becomes crucial for individuals to familiarize themselves with available options like utilizing public transportation, carpooling, or utilizing rideshare services to meet their commuting needs while abiding by the law and ensuring the safety of themselves and others on the road. By promoting responsible behaviors and discouraging risky practices, New Jersey seeks to maintain a secure driving environment for its residents.

New Jersey DWI lawyer

Ignition Interlock: Installation and Duration

In the event that an individual is convicted of their first DUI offense, they may be obligated to install an ignition interlock device for a period of six (6) months to one (1) year upon the restoration of their driver’s license. However, if their blood alcohol content (“BAC”) level is 0.15% or higher, they will be required to install the device for a mandatory period of six (6) months to one (1) year after their license has been restored. In the case of a second or subsequent offense, the installation of the ignition interlock device is mandatory for the entirety of the license suspension period, as well as one (1) to three (3) years following license restoration.

Offense Level Ignition Interlock Duration (Suspension Period) Ignition Interlock Duration (After Restoration)
First DUI Offense 6 months to 1 year 6 months to 1 year
(BAC < 0.15%) (BAC ≥ 0.15%)
Second or Subsequent Offense Mandatory during license suspension 1 to 3 years after license restoration

In the event that an individual or their family member is mandated to install an ignition interlock device, it is required that every motor vehicle which is owned, leased, or regularly operated by the offender be equipped with a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID). The Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) must be approved and certified by the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. The device is calibrated to have an alcohol set-point of 0.05% breath alcohol concentration, which is the threshold at which the ignition is locked. Engaging in any actions that aim to tamper with the device is strictly prohibited, as it can lead to severe consequences such as facing charges in both criminal and civil courts. If you are facing DUI charges in New Jersey, our team of experienced DUI attorneys at Kugel Law Firm can defend your rights and assist you throughout the legal process. To book a consultation free of charge, please contact us at (973) 854-0098.

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