Many drivers are uncertain of the DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence) rules and regulations when it comes to an incident that occurred outside their home state. The specific rules and regulations are specific to each state's laws and DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) but ultimately if a New Jersey driver is convicted of DWI/DUI in another state, it is essentially the same as being convicted in New Jersey. All states except five (Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Tennessee) have agreed to and signed the Driver's License Compact. This agreement between the states effectively treats vehicular offenses committed in other states as if they were committed in the home state. So long as the driver's home state has a “substantially similar” statute to the statute the driver actually violated, the home state will treat it as if the offense occurred within the home state.
Penalties For DWI In New Jersey
The penalties New Jersey drivers may face for being convicted in another state for DWI/DUI can be harsh. The driver's license will likely be suspended in the state-of-incident for the length of time specified by the statute and surcharges may apply. Moreover, the state-of-incident will then report the vehicular offense to the driver's home state in order for the home state or DMV to apply its own punishment. This can mean a suspension of the driver's license in the home state, fines and surcharges, and the more severe penalties that come with subsequent offenses or higher BACs (ignition interlock device, community service, prison time). Being punished in both the state-of-incident and the home state is constitutional and does not violate the double jeopardy provision of the Fifth Amendment in the United States Constitution.
Subsequent Or Prior Offenses
If a driver receives a DWI/DUI in New Jersey after being convicted for the same offense in another state, it is very likely New Jersey will treat the driver as a two-time offender. This means that even though it may be the driver's first DWI/DUI in New Jersey, the driver will not be punished as a first time offender. The rules are basically the same for an out-of-state driver getting convicted of a DWI/DUI in New Jersey. There are certain exceptions to this, but they are complex and the counsel of an attorney is advised.