SENATE, No. 359

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JAMES BEACH

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

Senator  FRED H. MADDEN, JR.

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires breath or blood sample to be obtained from driver involved in motor vehicle accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning motor vehicle accidents resulting in death or serious bodily injury, and amending R.S.39:4-50, P.L.1966, c.142, and P.L.1981, c.512.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    R.S.39:4-50 is amended to read as follows:

     39:4-50. (a) Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, a person who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant's blood or permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control or permits another to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant's blood shall be subject:

     (1)   For the first offense:

     (i)    if the person's blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10%, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or the person permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control or permits another person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10% to operate a motor vehicle, to a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $400 and a period of detainment of not less than 12 hours nor more than 48 hours spent during two consecutive days of not less than six hours each day and served as prescribed by the program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers established under subsection (f) of this section and, in the discretion of the court, a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of three months;

     (ii)   if the person's blood alcohol concentration is 0.10% or higher, or the person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, or the person permits another person who is under the influence of narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control, or permits another person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10% or more to operate a motor vehicle, to a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $500 and a period of detainment of not less than 12 hours nor
more than 48 hours spent during two consecutive days of not less than six hours each day and served as prescribed by the program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers established under subsection (f) of this section and, in the discretion of the court, a term of imprisonment of not more than 30 days and shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of not less than seven months nor more than one year;

     (iii)   For a first offense, a person also shall be subject to the provisions of P.L.1999, c.417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.).

     (2)   For a second violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00, and shall be ordered by the court to perform community service for a period of 30 days, which shall be of such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 48 consecutive hours, which shall not be suspended or served on probation, nor more than 90 days, and shall forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of two years upon conviction, and, after the expiration of said period, he may make application to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for a license to operate a motor vehicle, which application may be granted at the discretion of the chief administrator, consistent with subsection (b) of this section.  For a second violation, a person also shall be required to install an ignition interlock device under the provisions of P.L.1999, c.417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.) or shall have his registration certificate and registration plates revoked for two years under the provisions of section 2 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1).

     (3)   For a third or subsequent violation, a person shall be subject to a fine of $1,000.00, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 180 days in a county jail or workhouse, except that the court may lower such term for each day, not exceeding 90 days, served participating in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and shall thereafter forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for 10 years.  For a third or subsequent violation, a person also shall be required to install an ignition interlock device under the provisions of P.L.1999, c.417 (C.39:4-50.16 et al.) or shall have his registration certificate and registration plates revoked for 10 years under the provisions of section 2 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1).

     As used in this section, the phrase "narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug" includes an inhalant or other substance containing a chemical capable of releasing any toxic vapors or fumes for the purpose of inducing a condition of intoxication, such as any glue, cement or any other substance containing one or more of the following chemical compounds: acetone and acetate, amyl nitrite or amyl nitrate or their isomers, benzene, butyl alcohol, butyl nitrite, butyl nitrate or their isomers, ethyl acetate, ethyl alcohol, ethyl nitrite or ethyl nitrate, ethylene dichloride, isobutyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl ethyl ketone, nitrous xide, n-propyl alcohol, pentachlorophenol, petroleum ether, propyl nitrite or propyl nitrate or their isomers, toluene, toluol or xylene or any other chemical substance capable of causing a condition of intoxication, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction or the dulling of the brain or nervous system as a result of the inhalation of the fumes or vapors of such chemical substance.

     Whenever an operator of a motor vehicle has been involved in an accident resulting in [death,] bodily injury or property damage, a police officer shall consider that fact along with all other facts and circumstances in determining whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that person was operating a motor vehicle in violation of this section.

     A conviction of a violation of a law of a substantially similar nature in another jurisdiction, regardless of whether that jurisdiction is a signatory to the Interstate Driver License Compact pursuant to P.L.1966, c.73 (C.39:5D-1 et seq.), shall constitute a prior conviction under this subsection unless the defendant can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the conviction in the other jurisdiction was based exclusively upon a violation of a proscribed blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.08%.

     If the driving privilege of any person is under revocation or suspension for a violation of any provision of this Title or Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes at the time of any conviction for a violation of this section, the revocation or suspension period imposed shall commence as of the date of termination of the existing revocation or suspension period.  In the case of any person who at the time of the imposition of sentence is less than 17 years of age, the forfeiture, suspension or revocation of the driving privilege imposed by the court under this section shall commence immediately, run through the offender's seventeenth birthday and continue from that date for the period set by the court pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection.  A court that imposes a term of imprisonment for a first or second offense under this section may sentence the person so convicted to the county jail, to the workhouse of the county wherein the offense was committed, to an inpatient rehabilitation program or to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center or other facility approved by the chief of the Intoxicated Driving Program Unit in the Department of Health and Senior Services.  For a third or subsequent offense a person shall not serve a term of imprisonment at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center as provided in subsection (f).

     A person who has been convicted of a previous violation of this section need not be charged as a second or subsequent offender in the complaint made against him in order to render him liable to the punishment imposed by this section on a second or subsequent offender, but if the second offense occurs more than 10 years after the first offense, the court shall treat the second conviction as a first offense for sentencing purposes and if a third offense occurs more than 10 years after the second offense, the court shall treat the third conviction as a second offense for sentencing purposes.

     (b)   A person convicted under this section must satisfy the screening, evaluation, referral, program and fee requirements of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse's Intoxicated Driving Program Unit, and of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers and a program of alcohol and drug education and highway safety, as prescribed by the chief administrator.  The sentencing court shall inform the person convicted that failure to satisfy such requirements shall result in a mandatory two-day term of imprisonment in a county jail and a driver license revocation or suspension and continuation of revocation or suspension until such requirements are satisfied, unless stayed by court order in accordance with the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey, or R.S.39:5-22.  Upon sentencing, the court shall forward to the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse's Intoxicated Driving Program Unit a copy of a person's conviction record.  A fee of $100.00 shall be payable to the Alcohol Education, Rehabilitation and Enforcement Fund established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1983, c.531 (C.26:2B-32) to support the Intoxicated Driving Program Unit.

     (c)   Upon conviction of a violation of this section, the court shall collect forthwith the New Jersey driver's license or licenses of the person so convicted and forward such license or licenses to the chief administrator.  The court shall inform the person convicted that if he is convicted of personally operating a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, he shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties established in R.S.39:3-40. The person convicted shall be informed orally and in writing.  A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of that written notice in writing. Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of a violation of R.S.39:3-40.  In the event that a person convicted under this section is the holder of any out-of-State driver's license, the court shall not collect the license but shall notify forthwith the chief administrator, who shall, in turn, notify appropriate officials in the licensing jurisdiction.  The court shall, however, revoke the nonresident's driving privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this State, in accordance with this section.  Upon conviction of a violation of this section, the court shall notify the person convicted, orally and in writing, of the penalties for a second, third or subsequent violation of this section.  A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of that written notice in writing. Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of a violation of this section.

     (d)   The chief administrator shall promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) in order to establish a program of alcohol education and highway safety, as prescribed by this act.

     (e)   Any person accused of a violation of this section who is liable to punishment imposed by this section as a second or subsequent offender shall be entitled to the same rights of discovery as allowed defendants pursuant to the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey.

     (f)    The counties, in cooperation with the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the commission, but subject to the approval of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, shall designate and establish on a county or regional basis Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers.  These centers shall have the capability of serving as community treatment referral centers and as court monitors of a person's compliance with the ordered treatment, service alternative or community service.  All centers established pursuant to this subsection shall be administered by a counselor certified by the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification Board of New Jersey or other professional with a minimum of five years' experience in the treatment of alcoholism.  All centers shall be required to develop individualized treatment plans for all persons attending the centers; provided that the duration of any ordered treatment or referral shall not exceed one year.  It shall be the center's responsibility to establish networks with the community alcohol and drug education, treatment and rehabilitation resources and to receive monthly reports from the referral agencies regarding a person's participation and compliance with the program.  Nothing in this subsection shall bar these centers from developing their own education and treatment programs; provided that they are approved by the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

     Upon a person's failure to report to the initial screening or any subsequent ordered referral, the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center shall promptly notify the sentencing court of the person's failure to comply.

     Required detention periods at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Centers shall be determined according to the individual treatment classification assigned by the Intoxicated Driving Program Unit. Upon attendance at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, a person shall be required to pay a per diem fee of $75.00 for the first offender program or a per diem fee of $100.00 for the second offender program, as appropriate.  Any increases in the per diem fees after the first full year shall be determined pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services in consultation with the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

     The centers shall conduct a program of alcohol and drug education and highway safety, as prescribed by the chief administrator.

     The Commissioner of Health and Senior Services shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), in order to effectuate the purposes of this subsection.

     (g)   When a violation of this section occurs while:

     (1)   on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property;

     (2)   driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 if the municipality, by ordinance or resolution, has designated the school crossing as such; or

     (3)   driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 knowing that juveniles are present if the municipality has not designated the school crossing as such by ordinance or resolution, the convicted person shall: for a first offense, be fined not less than $500 or more than $800, be imprisoned for not more than 60 days and have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for a period of not less than one year or more than two years; for a second offense, be fined not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000, perform community service for a period of 60 days, be imprisoned for not less than 96 consecutive hours, which shall not be suspended or served on probation, nor more than 180 days, except that the court may lower such term for each day, not exceeding 90 days, served performing community service in such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances and have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for a period of four years; and, for a third offense, be fined $2,000, imprisoned for 180 days in a county jail or workhouse, except that the court may lower such term for each day, not exceeding 90 days, served participating in a drug or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation program approved by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for a period of 20 years; the period of license suspension shall commence upon the completion of any prison sentence imposed upon that person.

     A map or true copy of a map depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 1,000 feet of any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board produced pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1987, c.101 (C.2C:35-7) may be used in a prosecution under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

     It shall not be relevant to the imposition of sentence pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection that the defendant was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or while driving through a school crossing.  Nor shall it be relevant to the imposition of sentence that no juveniles were present on the school property or crossing zone at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session.

     (h)   A court also may order a person convicted pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to participate in a supervised visitation program as either a condition of probation or a form of community service, giving preference to those who were under the age of 21 at the time of the offense.  Prior to ordering a person to participate in such a program, the court may consult with any person who may provide useful information on the defendant's physical, emotional and mental suitability for the visit to ensure that it will not cause any injury to the defendant.  The court also may order that the defendant participate in a counseling session under the supervision of the Intoxicated Driving Program Unit prior to participating in the supervised visitation program.  The supervised visitation program shall be at one or more of the following facilities which have agreed to participate in the program under the supervision of the facility's personnel and the probation department:

     (1)   a trauma center, critical care center or acute care hospital having basic emergency services, which receives victims of motor vehicle accidents for the purpose of observing appropriate victims of drunk drivers and victims who are, themselves, drunk drivers;

     (2)   a facility which cares for advanced alcoholics or drug abusers, to observe persons in the advanced stages of alcoholism or drug abuse; or

     (3)   if approved by a county medical examiner, the office of the county medical examiner or a public morgue to observe appropriate victims of vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers.  As used in this section, "appropriate victim" means a victim whose condition is determined by the facility's supervisory personnel and the probation officer to be appropriate for demonstrating the results of accidents involving drunk drivers without being unnecessarily gruesome or traumatic to the defendant.

     If at any time before or during a visitation the facility's supervisory personnel and the probation officer determine that the visitation may be or is traumatic or otherwise inappropriate for that defendant, the visitation shall be terminated without prejudice to the defendant.  The program may include a personal conference after the visitation, which may include the sentencing judge or the judge who coordinates the program for the court, the defendant, defendant's counsel, and, if available, the defendant's parents to discuss the visitation and its effect on the defendant's future conduct.  If a personal conference is not practicable because of the defendant's absence from the jurisdiction, conflicting time schedules, or any other reason, the court shall require the defendant to submit a written report concerning the visitation experience and its impact on the defendant.  The county, a court, any facility visited pursuant to the program, any agents, employees, or independent contractors of the court, county, or facility visited pursuant to the program, and any person supervising a defendant during the visitation, are not liable for any civil damages resulting from injury to the defendant, or for civil damages associated with the visitation which are caused by the defendant, except for willful or grossly negligent acts intended to, or reasonably expected to result in, that injury or damage.

     The Supreme Court may adopt court rules or directives to effectuate the purposes of this subsection.

     (i)    In addition to any other fine, fee, or other charge imposed pursuant to law, the court shall assess a person convicted of a violation of the provisions of this section a surcharge of $100, of which amount $50 shall be payable to the municipality in which the conviction was obtained and $50 shall be payable to the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey for deposit into the General Fund.

(cf:  P.L.2004, c.8, s.2)

 

     2.    Section 2 of P.L.1966, c. 142 (C.39:4-50.2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    (a) Any person who operates a motor vehicle on any public road, street or highway or quasi-public area in this State shall be deemed to have given his consent to the taking of samples of his breath or blood for the purpose of making chemical tests to determine the content of alcohol in his blood; provided, however, that the taking of samples is made in accordance with the provisions of this act and at the request of a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that such person has been operating a motor vehicle in violation of the provisions of R.S.39:4-50 or section 1 of P.L.1992, c.189 (C.39:4-50.14).  A breath or blood sample shall be obtained any time the person has been operating a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the death or serious bodily injury, as defined in N.J.S.2C:11-1, of another person.

     (b)   A record of the taking of any such sample, disclosing the date and time thereof, as well as the result of any chemical test, shall be made and a copy thereof, upon his request, shall be furnished or made available to the person so tested.

     (c)   In addition to the samples taken and tests made at the direction of a police officer hereunder, the person tested shall be permitted to have such samples taken and chemical tests of his breath, urine or blood made by a person or physician of his own selection.

     (d)   The police officer shall inform the person tested of his rights under subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

     (e)   No chemical test, as provided in this section, or specimen necessary thereto, may be made or taken forcibly and against physical resistance thereto by the defendant.  The police officer shall, however, inform the person arrested of the consequences of refusing to submit to such test in accordance with section 2 of this amendatory and supplementary act.  A standard statement, prepared by the chief administrator, shall be read by the police officer to the person under arrest.

(cf:  P.L.2007, c.267, s.1)

 

     3.    Section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    a.  Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, the municipal court shall revoke the right to operate a motor vehicle of any operator who, after being arrested for a violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 1 of P.L.1992, c.189 (C.39:4-50.14) or after being involved in an accident resulting in the death or serious bodily injury as defined in N.J.S.2C:11-1, of another person, shall refuse to submit to a test provided for in section 2 of P.L.1966, c.142 (C.39:4-50.2) when requested to do so, for not less than seven months or more than one year unless the refusal was in connection with a second offense under this section, in which case the revocation period shall be for two years or unless the refusal was in connection with a third or subsequent offense under this section in which case the revocation shall be for ten years.  A conviction or administrative determination of a violation of a law of a substantially similar nature in another jurisdiction, regardless of whether that jurisdiction is a signatory to the Interstate Driver License Compact pursuant to P.L.1966, c.73 (C.39:5D-1 et seq.), shall constitute a prior conviction under this section.

     The municipal court shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether the arresting officer had probable cause to believe that the person had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on the public highways or quasi-public areas of this State while the person was under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug or marijuana or when an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury, as defined in N.J.S.2C:11-1 occurred; whether the person was placed under arrest, if appropriate, and whether he refused to submit to the test upon request of the officer; and if these elements of the violation are not established, no conviction shall issue.  In addition to any other requirements provided by law, a person whose operator's license is revoked for refusing to submit to a test shall be referred to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center established by subsection [(f.)] (f) of R.S.39:4-50 and shall satisfy the same requirements of the center for refusal to submit to a test as provided for in section 2 of P.L.1966, c.142 (C.39:4-50.2) in connection with a first, second, third or subsequent offense under this section that must be satisfied by a person convicted of a commensurate violation of this section, or be subject to the same penalties as such a person for failure to do so. For a first offense, the revocation may be concurrent with or consecutive to any revocation imposed for a conviction under the provisions of R.S.39:4-50 arising out of the same incident.  For a second or subsequent offense, the revocation shall be consecutive to any revocation imposed for a conviction under the provisions of R.S.39:4-50.  In addition to issuing a revocation, except as provided in subsection b. of this section, the municipal court shall fine a person convicted under this section, a fine of not less than $300 or more than $500 for a first offense; a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for a second offense; and a fine of $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense.

     b.    For a first offense, the fine imposed upon the convicted person shall be not less than $600 or more than $1,000 and the period of license suspension shall be not less than one year or more than two years; for a second offense, a fine of not less than $1,000 or more than $2,000 and a license suspension for a period of four years; and for a third or subsequent offense, a fine of $2,000 and a license suspension for a period of 20 years when a violation of this section occurs while:

     (1)   on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property;

     (2)   driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 if the municipality, by ordinance or resolution, has designated the school crossing as such; or

     (3)   driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 knowing that juveniles are present if the municipality has not designated the school crossing as such by ordinance or resolution.

     A map or true copy of a map depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 1,000 feet of any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board produced pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1987, c.101 (C.2C:35-7) may be used in a prosecution under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

     It shall not be relevant to the imposition of sentence pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection that the defendant was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or while driving through a school crossing.  Nor shall it be relevant to the imposition of sentence that no juveniles were present on the school property or crossing zone at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session.

(cf:  P.L.2007, c.267, s.2)

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would require police officers to obtain a breath or blood sample of the driver of a motor vehicle that has been involved in an accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury to another person.  Current law defines “serious bodily injury” as bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

     Under the bill, a person will be deemed to have given consent to the taking of a blood sample just as they currently are deemed to have given consent to a breath test.  A person who refuses to consent to the breath or blood test would be subject to the same penalties as a person who is convicted of refusal in relation to a drunk driving charge under R.S.39:4-50.