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The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Cannot Suspend Your License For a Pending DWI Charge

Interviewer: I’ve heard the Department of Motor Vehicles can and might already have taken my driver’s license away. What can I do to make sure I don’t lose my license for a year? How can I get to work, to pick up my kids, etc.? What am I facing?

Ron Mondello: In New Jersey, the motor vehicle commission has no authority to suspend your license for a pending New Jersey DWI or New Jersey DUI traffic ticket that you may have received. With respect to those charges, the New Jersey motor vehicle commission must follow the Municipal Court judges order to suspend your license. In other words, your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in New Jersey will not and cannot be suspended until either you have been found guilty of the DWI (or DUI) or you have entered a guilty plea to those charges.

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Can Suspend your License if You’ve Been found Guilty of DUI in Another State in The Interstate Compact

The New Jersey motor vehicle commission has the authority to suspend or your New Jersey driving privileges if you’ve pled guilty or have been found guilty of a DWI offense in another state that belongs to the interstate compact. By way of example, let’s assume you are a New Jersey driver’s license holder and live in New Jersey. One evening while in Manhattan you receive a DWI and eventually plead guilty. The New York motor vehicle commission will notify the New Jersey motor vehicle commission and eventually your New Jersey driver’s license will be suspended for some period of time. Most likely seven months but that will depend on several factors.

One of the factors is what was your BAC reading in Manhattan. Unfortunately, in New Jersey and unlike many other states like New York, there is no such thing as a work license. Once your New Jersey license is suspended there is no legal reason that would enable you to drive. Once your license is suspended you cannot drive to work you cannot drive to pick up your children and you cannot drive to the grocery store. You cannot drive. As previously discussed, if your blood alcohol concentration is .08% but under .10%, you will lose your license for a period of three months if you are found guilty or you plead guilty. If you’re blood alcohol concentration is .10% or higher you will lose your license for a period of seven months to one year assuming this is your first offense for a DWI or DUI.

Interviewer: My DUI charges talk about it being aggravated. What does that mean and what other situations besides mine would make a DUI charge aggravated.

Ron Mondello: New Jersey is one of only six states that does not have aggravated DWI laws. So, the question is not applicable to New Jersey.