TRENTON - A New Jersey assemblyman wants the state to have stiffer penalties for people who repeatedly drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, more than 20,000 drivers were charged with DUI in New Jersey last year. A third of those arrested were repeat offenders.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora says that he plans to introduce legislation that would make the penalties for people who drove drunk multiple times more severe.
"The first three DUIs are not a crime in the state of New Jersey and my bill would elevate the third DUI offense to be a felony which would go to the superior court,” Gusciora says.
The bill would also increase penalties for a third DUI from six months to a year or more in jail. Gusciora says that he would like to see DUI cases heard in superior court instead of municipal court. He also wants offenders to get treatment.
“In the municipal court level, because they don't have the resources and they don't have time to follow up on a typical defendant, [the offenders] often do not get the real treatment that they really need,” he says.
Gusciora plans to introduce the bill at a general assembly subcommittee meeting this week.