NJ DWI – Traffic Charge vs. Criminal Charge

New Jersey law states that a DWI is a traffic offense not an indictable crime (felony) or disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor). If a motorist is convicted, then the conviction appears on his or her driving record. There are no jury trials for DWI cases, but instead they are heard and decided by a sole judge. DWI charges are governed by the Motor Vehicle Code Title 39 which sets all of the statutes that regulate all New Jersey traffic offenses. Although DWI is a serious traffic violation it is not a criminal act.

Can Motorists Convicted Of DWI Have Their Conviction Removed From MVC Records?

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New Jersey does not permit the removal of DWI convictions from an individual's record. If the motorist has a driver's license they will continue to operate an automobile. The individual may receive another DWI charge five or ten years from the date of the first violation. If convicted of a future DWI, then the driver's prior DWI conviction will be applied for sentencing purposes.

DWI is a Quasi-Criminal Offense

A driver charged with DWI is entitled to the same constitutional protections that defendants facing criminal charges have. DWI's are commonly referred to as “quasi-criminal” offenses in New Jersey. DWI charges are quasi-criminal because, while they are not on one's criminal record, they can have penalties that are serious in nature. The quasi-criminal offense of DWI is punishable by things such as forfeiture of one's driver's license, heavy penalties and other requirements.

DWI traffic and quasi-criminal charges are serious and carry jail detainment, prison time, fines and penalties as crimes prosecuted in the criminal court. It is recorded in Motor Vehicle Commission records and released to United States courts in all states. No lawyer can have the information removed unless the driver is declared innocent of all charges and they are dismissed. It stays on the driver's record and is updated each time the driver commits another DWI offense.

Villani & DeLuca, P.C. is a law firm based out of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey with lawyers who are here to answer your DWI-related questions. Our DWI defense attorneys have years of experience defending clients in Ocean County and Monmouth County courtrooms. Call 732-372-0820 today for your FREE consultation about your New Jersey DWI charge.