NJ Drunk Driving Update: How a New Jersey DWI Arrest Affects Out-of-State Motorists Caught Driving Under the Influence

Being pulled over by a policeman in New Jersey while driving under the influence of alcohol can be just the beginning of a difficult and costly episode in one’s life. Getting pulled over for DWI while visiting or just passing through the Garden State can mean a variety of things, not the least of which is denial of that individual’s right to operate a motor vehicle in this state.

As a New Jersey lawyer dedicated to defending individuals arrested for DWI, DUI or breath test refusal, I understand how easily a driver can end up with a drunk driving conviction on his or her record. As a former municipal prosecutor, my knowledge of the state’s procedures gives me better insight into the process and potential outcomes.

For out-of-state drunken driving offenders, the end result is dependant on a number of factors. Regardless of the circumstances however, being convicted of driving while intoxicated either by use of prescriptions drugs or liquor is something you should avoid if at all possible.

While a patrolman may not at first be aware of whether or not a driver has had too much to drink, the officer can stop you for any number of potential traffic violations such as running a red light, making a lane change without signaling or not maintaining ones lane.

New Jersey’s drunk driving laws apply to all motorists regardless of whether or not one is a resident. However, for out-of-state drivers a possible conviction for DWI does not arise as a result of the state where an individual obtained their drivers license. Specifically, when an individual licensed in a state other than New Jersey is charged with a drinking and driving offense here in New Jersey, all that this state can do is enforce the particular DWI, drug DUI and/or refusal charge by limiting that driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle within New Jersey.

My office frequently receives inquiries from out-of-state motorists who have been pulled over and issued summonses for DWI here in New Jersey. If an out-of-state driver is convicted of driving while intoxicated here in the Garden State, they will be subject to New Jersey’s penalties for a drunk driving conviction. However, the most that New Jersey can do in terms of license suspension is to revoke an out of state driver’s right to operate a motor vehicle within New Jersey.

This is because the New Jersey courts have no authority to decide what happens to a person’s drivers license back in their home state, or outside of New Jersey. The full impact, if any, which a New Jersey DWI, DUI or refusal conviction may have on a person with respect to licensing in their home state is left to the Division of Motor Vehicles of that individual’s home state.