There are two questions I often answer regarding out of state DWI convictions and New Jersey Law and they are the following:
1. I got a DWI in another state but I am a New Jersey license holder. Can New Jersey suspend me?
The short answer is yes. Because you are a New Jersey driver’s license holder, New Jersey has the authority to suspend your driving privileges in New Jersey for several reasons including accumulation of points, certain traffic offenses, and out of State DWI convictions. Typically, a conviction for DWI, DUI or Refusal in another State can have the same effect as a conviction that took place in New Jersey. New Jersey may try to “domesticate” the out of State DWI and suspend the individual’s driver’s license in New Jersey. It is possible to appeal that suspension and request a hearing at the DMV where you may be represented by counsel. Typically, New Jersey will try to impose a suspension in accordance with New Jersey law. For example, for a first offense DWI with a breath reading between .08% and .10%, the defendant is facing a three (3) month suspension from New Jersey DMV. Moreover, if the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .10% and it is a first offense DWI, the defendant is facing a seven (7) month to one (1) year suspension when the out of state DWI conviction is domesticated. I will examine the facts and circumstances of your out of State DWI conviction and New Jersey law in attempting to limit or eliminate the suspension of your New Jersey Driver’s License altogether.
2. Does a prior DWI in another State enhance a subsequent DWI in New Jersey?
The short answer is that it depends on the level of intoxication of your prior DWI. In most cases, prior DWI convictions in other states will be used to enhance a subsequent DWI conviction in New Jersey. Generally, if you have a prior DWI in a different State and your BAC was over .10% for that offense, and you are charged with another DWI in New Jersey, you are facing a second offense DWI conviction with a two (2) year license suspension. However, it is important to remember that the prior DWI conviction must have violated New Jersey’s law at the time, depending on what your blood alcohol content (BAC) was at the time of the prior offense. New Jersey’s DWI law changed in 2004 when the legal limit was lowered from .10% BAC to .08% BAC so an experienced drunk driving attorney must examine your prior DWI(s) to determine whether or not they should count for enhancement purposes.