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Allowing A Drunk Driver To Use Your Car Is Illegal

The Super Bowl is often good reason to get together with friends and to drink a few brews. After the game, you may make the decision that you had too much to drink and should not be driving. That’s a good call. However, allowing a buddy to drive your car can be as bad a mistake as driving the car yourself.

In New Jersey, the DWI laws punish not only a drunk driver but the person who let the drunk driver use his car. Title 39:4-50 states in part:

a person who.. 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.

In other words, if you allow a person to drive the car that is registered to you or a car that you control (e.g., a rental car), then you can be charged with a DWI. If found guilty, the penalties are the same as if you were convicted for a DWI. Even worse, if you had a prior DUI or DWI, then that prior conviction can be used to treat you as a second DWI offender.

As a first offender in New Jersey, the penalties include license suspension, fines and surcharges, intoxicated driver classes and the ignition interlock device. Second offender status means that the license suspension is for two years and there is also mandatory jail-time.

So, when you make the intelligent decision not to drive drunk, you also have to make sure that the driver of your car is not intoxicated. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a New Jersey municipal court.

Leckerman