People ask us the same questions all the time.
I live in Pennsylvania, how does a DWI in NJ affect me?
If this is your first offence in the State of NJ, Pennsylvania will not suspend your license. You cannot drive in New Jersey while you are under the DWI charges in New Jersey, but you can continue to drive in Pennsylvania and other states. Pennsylvania also considers it to be a first offence if it your prior offence was more than 10 years ago. If this is your second offence, Pennsylvania will suspend your license for a minimum of 1 year. Pennsylvania also participates in the DLC , Drivers License Compact, a group of 46 states that share information regarding DUI driving records. New Jersey, Delaware and New York also participate in this movement to make driving safer. Therefore, convictions in any of the 46 states will also be considered and you can lose your license in Pennsylvania.
It should be recognized that if you are convicted of a first offence DUI, it will not impact your ability to drive in the State of Pennsylvania. However, should you decide to visit Canada or be moving to work there, you should be aware that you will not be allowed to enter the country through immigration. Canada is extremely strict in this regard and considers a DUI to be a “Crime of Moral Turpitude”.
What if, again, I live in Pennsylvania, but also have a CDL License for work?
The addition of a CDL License is extremely important for a person with a DUI conviction. Due to the strict guidelines for commercial drivers licenses, your conviction in New Jersey will not impact your private license, as seen above, but will result in a one year suspension of your commercial driver’s license for a first offense, and a lifetime suspension for a second CDL DUI conviction.
You can forever lose your ability to obtain employment as a commercial driver.
I was arrested for DUI, why were the charges changed to Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is considered to be a part of DUI. It is considered to be reckless to get behind the wheel if you are impaired and can cause an accident. There are times that your attorney can persuade a prosecutor that there are problems with his case, he may not be able to win on the DUI charge. The Reckless Driving charge allows the client to plead guilty to a lesser offence and the DUI will not appear on their record.
That is not to say Reckless Driving is a throwaway charge. It is one of the New Jersey traffic violations with the most severe punishment. A person who is guilty of first-time reckless driving can be imprisoned up to 60 days in county or municipal jail and/or fined between $50 and $200. Your attorney will work hard to make certain that if you do plea to the lesser charge, the prosecutor will work with you.
I was arrested for DUI, but I Passed the Test. How can this be?
On the street, New Jersey uses the Standard Field Sobriety Tests that were designed by the DOT. They are over 50% reliable when they are given in the “Proscribed Standardized Manner” recommended. This is extremely important for your DUI defense attorney. Drivers are evaluated using “Scoring Factors”. 2 points are given for both the Leg Stand Test and the Walk and Turn Test. 4 points are given for the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. One of the issues that your attorney will need to look at is “What was the officer/trooper trained to look for?” Was the test administered in the “Proscribed Standardized Manner?” “Did the officer/trooper observe something that is not in the standardized handbook?”, “What was their ultimate decision based on?”
I am in the Military and Charged with DUI?
This is a very special case. The military takes DUI extremely seriously. This is where the client determines exactly how aggressive they want their attorney to be. In the military, if you are convicted of a DUI you face very harsh consequences including but not limited to: Dishonorable Discharge, Reduction in your Rank, Reduction in your Pay, Time spent in the Brig, Forfeiture of Pay, Forfeiture of allowances and fines. In this case, we try for a dismissal of charges. We can also work on shortening the suspension and mitigation of penalties. Each case in this segment of the population is different. As stated before, in these cases, the client is the one who will determine whether their attorney will be more aggressive or less aggressive.