A DWI charge can have devastating consequences for a person’s life. If you were arrested for a DWI in New Jersey or convicted in another state, the legal process can be very confusing. This is why it is important to reach out to a seasoned New Jersey DWI attorney to understand your legal rights and options. Our firm has handled virtually all types of DWI cases and can provide an aggressive defense on your behalf.
New Jersey DWIs
In New Jersey, the basic offense of a DWI consists of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. A first-DWI offense in New Jersey includes a three-month suspension. If a first-time DWI defendant has a BAC of at least 0.10 percent, then the law mandates a seven-month suspension. If a person is convicted of a DWI for a second time, the offense carries a two-year license suspension irrespective of the BAC. If a person is convicted of a DWI for a third or subsequent time, the period of license suspension is ten years.
Consequences of an Out-of-state DWI
As mentioned above, one consequence of a DWI conviction in the state of New Jersey is mandatory driver’s license suspension. Even in cases when you have been convicted of a DUI/DWI in another state, you may lose your driving privileges in New Jersey. New Jersey is part of the Driver License Compact – an interstate compact that permits states to exchange information about license suspensions and traffic violations of any non-residents. In order for an out-of-state conviction to count as a prior conviction in New Jersey, the other state’s statute must be substantially similar to the New Jersey DWI statute. There is an exception though, if a defendant who has a conviction in another state can show by “clear and convincing evidence” that the DWI offense in the other state resulted from a law in which the BAC was less than 0.08 percent.
This exception was the central issue in the case of Markowiec v. N.J. Motor Vehicle Comm’n (MVC) where the defendant appealed the MVC’s decision to suspend his driving privileges in the State for a period of ten years after he pleaded guilty to a DWI. The appellant had two prior convictions for DWI in New Jersey and one in New York. The defendant claimed that the BAC in the New York case highlighted a BAC of 0.07 or less but did not provide any transcripts from that case.
As such, the court affirmed the MVC’s decision, pointing to the lack of evidence from the defendant about the proceedings in New York. The court also cited a previous case it ruled on in which it held that for the exception to be applicable, the court required a transcript or written order clearly saying that the conviction was based on a BAC less than 0.08 percent.
Hiring a Seasoned New Jersey DWI Attorney
If you have been charged with a DWI, it is vital to immediately reach out to a seasoned New Jersey DWI attorney. Whether it is your first offense or a subsequent offense, we can zealously advocate for your rights every step of the way. For a free case evaluation, please call us at 877-450.8301 or contact us online today.
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