What happens to your driving privileges if you get a DUI/DWI in New Jersey or New York?

If you’re facing a DUI or DWI charge, losing your driver’s license might be one of your greatest fears. After all, losing your license means losing access to your primary mode of transportation. A suspended driver’s license could dramatically affect your day-to-day life. How will you get to and from work? How will you take your kids to school or run errands?

Your situation can get complicated because DUI laws are different in every state. Depending on where you live in the tri-state area, you could be driving through both New Jersey and New York on any given day. You could get a DUI in one state while your driver’s license is issued in another state. Some states talk with other states and share DUI information, but some do not. And one state cannot take away a driver’s license issued by another state.

Whether you lose your driver’s license also depends on if this is your first, second, or third offense, with penalties increasing each time. You could face a suspension or a revocation.

  • A suspension takes away your driving privileges for a period of time before you get them back. You may have to pay a fee when your suspension ends.
  • A revocation voids your driving privileges altogether. You must re-apply for a driver’s license with your state’s DMV after the revocation period is over.

Facing a DUI charge on your own can be overwhelming. But a DUI lawyer can help you build the strongest possible case and maximize your chances for successfully beating the charges. If you’re facing a DUI or DWI now, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible.

What Happens to Your New Jersey License With a DUI?

In some cases of DUI, New Jersey has the right to suspend or revoke your driver’s license.

However, recently in 2019, a new law came into effect eliminating driver’s license suspensions for first-time DUI offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level below 0.15%. Instead of suspending driver’s licenses, New Jersey now requires these convicted first-time offenders to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their personal vehicles. An IID is essentially a breathalyzer that’s installed in your car. 

This is a much less disruptive penalty than license suspension, especially for first-time offenders. But this more lenient law does not apply if your DUI involves drugs of any kind (prescribed or illegal). And suspension is still possible for second and third DUI convictions and those with a .15 BAC or above. 

If you’re facing a second DUI conviction, your New Jersey driver’s license could be suspended for up to two years. For a third DUI conviction, the suspension becomes eight years.

This is why it’s important to fight back against a DUI conviction whenever possible, even if it’s your first. You may feel tempted to simply take the penalty and move on – but if you ever find yourself facing another DUI, the stakes will be much higher.

What Happens to Your New York License With a DWI?

Unlike New Jersey, New York revokes licenses for all DWI convictions, including first-time offenses. The suspension period is six months.

New York also has a less serious version of a DWI called a DWAI, Driving While Ability Impaired. This lesser charge carries a 90-day license suspension.

If this is your first DWI arrest, you may be given the option to plea down from a DWI to a DWAI violation. While the idea of lesser penalties may make this an attractive option, make sure to speak to a lawyer first. A DWAI still appears on your record and could affect the outcome of your case if you ever face another DUI in the future.

New York allows you to apply for a conditional license in many cases.  A conditional license allows you to drive in certain conditions even if your driver’s license gets suspended. For example, if you need your car to get to and from work and there are no viable public transit alternatives.

Conditional licenses may be given to allow driving to and from your job, child care, medical appointments, classes at school, or during limited hours of the day.

What Happens if You Get a DUI in a Different State?

Both New Jersey and New York are part of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact (IDLC). This is an agreement between 45 states to share information with each other about driving-related crimes such as DUI and DWI. That means even if your DUI conviction happened across state lines, your “home” state is likely to hear about it. 

The only states that do not belong to the IDLC are Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. But even some of these states have their own laws to alert a driver’s “home” state about their DUI conviction.

So even if you get convicted of a DUI in another state, that could still threaten your New Jersey driver’s license. In fact, you could face penalties from both states – the state where you got your DUI conviction and the state that issued your driver’s license.

For example: If you are a New York driver convicted of a first-time DUI in New Jersey, you may lose your license in NY. You will also have to pay New Jersey’s DUI fines and surcharges. 

In addition to having your license suspended or revoked, you may also have to complete DUI educational programs such as New York’s Impaired Driver Program (IDP) or New Jersey’s IDRC.

A DUI conviction can carry consequences even across state lines, for years to come. Both New York and New Jersey also have even greater penalties for DUI charges that involve drugs, whether they’re over-the-counter, prescription, or illegal drugs. This is becoming a greater issue as cannabis has become legalized in both states.

At The Kugel Law Firm, we’re not here to judge. We’re here to help. Schedule a no-risk case consultation with our leading DUI/DWI attorneys now. You can also reach us at our New York offices at (212) 372-7218 and our New Jersey offices at (973) 854-0098.