Bergen County DWI Update: Drunken Driving Conviction Can Lead to Revoked NJ Driver’s License

If there is one thing that most people need to live and work in our modern age, outside of food and lodging, it might be a valid driver’s license. From the day we receive our learner’s permit — and later a full-fledged license — we begin to value the freedom of movement that driving a car or truck provides. However, for many people, the state can revoke, suspend or otherwise withhold a motorist’s driving privileges for certain convicted offenses.

Whether one lives in Monmouth, Ocean or Sussex County, for those caught up in a drunken driving arrest it is not so far flung of a statement to suggest that a temporary, and sometimes long-term, loss of their New Jersey driver’s license could be in the offing depending on the nature of the charges and the driver’s history of DWI, drug DUI, or other impaired driving offenses.

Considering the freedom and independence that a license imparts to an individual, it’s hardly worth tempting fate with a drunk driving arrest, much less a potential conviction. Still, circumstances can arise leaving a driver in the unenviable position of losing his or her driver’s license based on a local court’s ruling following a guilty verdict or guilty plea regarding charges of driving while intoxicated, or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by prescription medication.

As we have said in the past, no one should underestimate the potential life-changing impact that a loss of driving privileges can have on a person and his immediate family. Should a driver have his or her license revoked — regardless of the time period — they must either resort to public transport, or arrange rides with family, friends and/or coworkers. Activities as mundane as shopping or taking kids to school can become a complicated and sometimes daunting effort.

For whatever the reason, it should be understood that a loss of driving privileges can wreck havoc with one’s personal and business life. And for anyone who has ever had their driver’s license revoked, there is usually one overriding goal; to get that driver’s license back as soon as possible.

One of the key factors — when it comes to a DWI case — in determining if and how long an individual’s license may end up being suspended is whether or not the latest potential conviction is a result of a first drunken driving offense, or that of two or more previous arrests and convictions. We’ll add right here that consulting with a qualified drunk driving defense attorney is advisable, if only to understand one’s options going forward.

A New Jersey DWI defense lawyer can provide insight into the nature of the DWI charges and how a first-, second-, third- or subsequent drunken driving offense may affect the courts decision vis-à-vis license suspension. A previous breath test refusal can also have a bearing on the court’s final decision. All of these factors will have some effect on the length of time a driver’s license is revoked.

But once an individual’s license has been suspended, is there any hope to get it back sooner than what the court initially ordered at the conclusion of a DWI case? And, after the required revocation period, does one simply begin driving again? These are common questions that have less than satisfying answers for many.

When it comes to recovering a person’s driver’s license following a DWI or DUI conviction, most people simply assume that after they have “served” their suspension period, their license automatically reverts to being valid. This, unfortunately, could not be further from the truth.

In fact, once the suspension period has expired, restoring one’s license requires additional effort on the driver’s part, not to mention additional monetary costs. Here in the Garden State, one must visit a motor vehicle station to apply for reinstatement of his or her driver’s license, which costs about $100 in fees.

Knowing this simple fact could be valuable in and of itself, since if one starts driving again without following the reinstatement procedure, should that individual be stopped by police for any reason, the officer could determine that the driver was operating a vehicle on a currently suspended license, which might then result in additional penalties.

Of course, each situation is unique, many of which require slightly different approaches to one’s defense. This makes it all the more important to consult with an experienced DWI defense lawyer regarding the particular circumstances surrounding one’s drunken driving arrest. Never assume that the court will be sympathetic to a drunk driving episode.