Additional Penalties Proposed for NJ DWI Convictions

The New Jersey Assembly is considering an amendment to the penalties for DWI related vehicular homicide.  The bill is referred to as “Josh’s Law” and proposes to increase the mandatory jail sentence to 10-20 years from 5-10 for those found guilty of vehicular homicide.  The bill was sponsored in response to the death of Josh Moren, a young man who was killed by a drunk driver possessing a blood alcohol content in excess of four times the legal limit.  

It is always sad to learn of another DWI related death.  While a life was lost, the question of incarceration is always something that needs to be fact sensitive in my judgment.  There is no question that a stiff jail sentence would be warranted when an accused is driving with a blood alcohol content of .35 but how about the high school senior with a .08% blood alcohol content and no prior history of any kind?  Do we destroy two lives to equal the score?  This is a very difficult question and I believe that the enactment of a mandatory jail term of 10-20 years will be too inflexible.

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