Representing New York-Licensed Drivers Charged with DWIs in New Jersey

December 20, 2012

The attorneys at the our firm often encounter the scenario where an out-of-state driver from New York is charged with DWI in New Jersey.  Defending these cases requires special attention as attorneys must possess knowledge regarding both states’ DWI laws in order to ensure the best outcome for the clientThis article will provide a brief overview of what a New York-licensed driver can expect if they are convicted of a DWI in New Jersey as well as the penalties and consequences that they may face in both states.

Perhaps the most important difference between New Jersey and New York DWI offenses is that while DWIs in New Jersey are considered traffic offenses (unless someone is injured or killed), they are considered crimes in New York.  A first DWI in New York is charged as a misdemeanor while a second offense is charged as a felony (if committed within ten years of the first offense).

As a New York-licensed driver convicted of DWI in New Jersey, you will face penalties in both states.  If convicted, New Jersey will imposed the following penalties:

First Offense

  • Suspension:  If your BAC is 0.10% or above, a conviction carries a suspension of driving privileges for a period of seven to 12 months.  If your BAC is below 0.10%, a conviction carries a suspension of driving privileges for three months.
  • IDRC:  A conviction carries a sentence of 12 to 48 hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC”).  As an out-of-state driver, you may be able to attend a program equivalent to New Jersey’s IDRC in New York.
  • Fines:  A conviction carries court-imposed fines and surcharges of between $600 to $900 as well as a New Jersey MVC surcharge of $1,000.00 a year for three years.
  • Jail:  A conviction could, but rarely does, include a period of up to 30 days in jail.
  • Ignition Interlock Device:  A conviction requires the installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of six to 12 months after the term of suspension if your BAC was 0.15% or above or if you refused to take a breath test.

Second Offense

  • Suspension:  A second conviction mandates a two-year suspension of driving privileges.
  • Fines:  Court-imposed fines and surcharges for a second conviction total approximately $900 to $1,400 as well as a New Jersey MVC surcharge of $1,000.00 a year for three years.
  • Jail:  If convicted, a jail sentence between two and 90 days will be imposed, with an option of serving the sentence at IDRC.  As an out-of-state driver, you may be able to attend a program equivalent to New Jersey’s IDRC in New York.
  • Community Service: A second DWI conviction requires 30 days of community service.Ignition Interlock Device: An ignition interlock device must be installed for a period of one to three years following restoration of driving privileges.

Third or Subsequent Offense

  •  Suspension:  A third or subsequent conviction results in a mandatory suspension of ten years.
  • Fines:  A conviction will result in around $1,400 in court-imposed fines and penalties as well as a New Jersey MVC surcharge of $1,500.00 a year for three years.
  • Jail:  A conviction requires six months in county jail.
  •  Ignition Interlock:  An ignition interlock device must be installed for a period of one to three years following restoration of driving privilege.

Both New York and New Jersey are members of the Interstate Driver License Compact.  As such, if a New York driver is convicted of a DWI in New Jersey, the conviction will be reported to the New York DMV.  Once this is done, the New York DMV will take its own action and revoke your driving privileges for a minimum period of 90 days, whether or not you have prior convictions and regardless of the length of period of suspension imposed by New Jersey.  If you are under the age of 21, the New York DMV will revoke your license for a minimum period of one year.  Due to delays in reporting and processing, however, the New York revocation will usually not take effect for weeks or even months after the New Jersey conviction.

If as a New York driver you are convicted of a DWI-related offense, you may be eligible to participate in the Drinking Driving Program (“DDP”) in New York.  If admitted, you can apply for a conditional license, which will allow you to drive for limited purposes, such as for work and school.  In order to be eligible for the DDP, however, you must not have been convicted of a DWI-related offense within the last five years.  Unlike New York, New Jersey does not offer conditional licenses.

If you have a New York license and you have been convicted of a DWI in New Jersey, make sure to contact an attorney that comprehends both New Jersey’s and New York’s DWI law as well as their penalties and consequences.

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