Out of state DWI and Instate Suspension
I possess a New Jersey driver’s license but was convicted of DWI/DUI in another state. New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) suspended my license and gave me a surcharge.
Can I get out of the surcharge and is New Jersey allowed to suspend my license even though I was not convicted in New Jersey?
Does NJ MVC have the authority to do this?
How can NJ suspend my license for an out of state DWI/DUI?
Submitted by New Jersey DWI Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
The issue in this case is ‘the out of state DWI/DUI conviction’ of a New Jersey licensed driver. Because the defendant plead guilty out of state,
YES – NJ is authorized under the Interstate Drivers License Compact to suspend the drivers license and to put in place the same fines and license suspension as if the driver was convicted in a New Jersey municipal court.
The Appellate Court in this case ruled, “The [Interstate] Compact provides for party states to impose penalties upon licensed drivers who have been convicted of specific offenses in other states. When a New Jersey driver has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in another state, N.J.S.A. 39:5D-4 directs the Commission to “give the same effect to the conduct reported . . . as it would if such conduct had occurred in the home
state. In New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles v. Egan, 103 N.J. 350, 357
(1986), our Supreme Court reviewed the policy of the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles to exercise the discretion granted by N.J.S.A.
39:5D-4 to “uniformly impos[e] New Jersey’s more stringent penalty instead of being reduced to ‘the least common denominator of other States[.]'” The Court noted the “legislative policy of exacting stringent penalties for drunk-driving offenses has never been stronger[,]” and concluded the “Director’s administrative policy of imposing these home state penalties furthers this legislative policy” and was not an abuse of discretion.
As a result, NJ MVC has the authority to suspend the New Jersey driver’s license and impose a surcharge (or an increase on a prior surcharge) on a NJ licensee for an out if state conviction so long as the ‘other state’ is part of the Interstate Drivers License Compact. Accordingly, the key is to fight your out of state charges in the other jurisdiction in order to protect your NJ drivers license. Hark & Hark are experienced criminal attorneys who handle criminal, civil, personal injury, traffic and DWI/DUI cases all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.