The connection between New Jersey and Florida is much deeper than many people realize. There are many New Jersey residents who vacation in Florida during the winter months, retire in Florida, and even have family members who come up to visit. While both states offer many tourist attractions, if a Florida resident is charged with a DWI offense during a stay in New Jersey the consequences could follow them back to their home state. Once any driver with a Florida license is convicted for DWI in New Jersey it will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Florida. Once Florida receives notice of the DWI, it will issue penalties for this offense as if the incident occurred in the state of Florida. Whenever you or someone your know has been charged with DWI in New Jersey you should consult with the traffic defense lawyers of Villani & Deluca who have over 20 years of experience representing clients in these situations.
The Interstate Driver's License Compact
In an effort to combat DWI or DUI drivers in this country, the Interstate Driver's License Compact was formed so that these drivers could be held accountable for these offenses. Currently 45 states participate in the IDLC of which both New Jersey and Florida are members. Once the driver is convicted in one state, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be notified in their home state and will then apply its own penalties. Each state differs in how DWI or DUIs are punished. Not only are both Florida and New Jersey a part of the IDLC, but they both are among the strictest states for drunk driving offenses in the country. Understanding the difference in penalties and laws for DWI in each state in the IDLC can be complex and confusing.
First Time DWI in New Jersey
For drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% the penalties include:
First Time DUI in Florida
With a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher the driver will face:
On the surface, the penalties for a DWI or DUI conviction in both states can be burdensome, however there are several differences that should be noted. First, in New Jersey the driver's blood alcohol concentration determines the punishment the driver will face. New Jersey increases DWI penalties when the driver's BAC reaches .10% or over and again once the driver reaches 0.15%. Additionally, New Jersey has no plea bargaining or hardship licenses and DWI is considered a motor vehicle violation. In Florida the penalties for a DUI conviction increase only once the BAC reading is at 0.15% or higher, which would then be classified as an aggravated DWI. The penalties for an aggravated DUI in Florida include a license suspension for 1 year, up to 9 months in jail, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device and payment of a fine between $1,000-$2,000. Unlike New Jersey the state of Florida considers DUI to be a misdemeanor but it allows for plea bargaining and hardship licenses in certain situations. Known as a “wet reckless charge”, these offenses are essentially a DUI that has been plea bargained to a lesser offense.
Defending Your DWI Charge With Villani & Deluca
Before appearing in court for your DWI offense, speaking with our attorneys could be critical to the outcome of your case. Our firm has over 20 years of experience representing clients facing convictions for DWI in Monmouth and Ocean County, which are both popular destinations for out-of-state residents. The best way to protect yourself from having an out-of-state DWI conviction during a trip come back and carry over into your social or professional life is through experienced legal representation that can challenge or reduce your charges. Carmine R. Villani, Esq. is our firm's founding partner. Mr. Villani has served as former municipal prosecutor, been trained in the testing procedures law enforcement uses during DWI stops, and is a drug recognition expert. If there are any defenses available in your case, it could result in the charges ultimately being reduced or even dropped which could be beneficial for drivers with a Florida license.