Possible Consequences of A DUI Charge
What Are The Collateral Consequences Of A DWI Charge?
There are some other consequences that a lot of people do not consider. These tend to be specific to individuals and their life situations. These are called collateral consequences because they do not come directly from the action by the government but from other sources and must be considered by the person charged with DWI or breath test refusal.
Immigration And Travel To Canada – For example, if a person is not a citizen, a DWI can be deemed a deportable offense, or even render that non-citizen inadmissible to the United States should they leave the country for whatever reason. A DWI conviction also acts as a basis for exclusion to enter Canada. If an American citizen gets a DWI or a refusal, Canadian customs and immigration officials generally bar that person from entering their country. That is because DWI and refusal are crimes in Canada. They exclude the person based on the theory that in Canada, they would be a criminal and they do not want criminals in their country. So, you have to ask a person about their citizenship, about whether they have to travel to Canada for whatever reason, because it can be very embarrassing when you go to the border and they do not let you in.
Occupational And Employment Consequences – Certain occupations are also affected by a DWI or breathe test refusal conviction. Those include being a pilot. If you fly an airplane as a pilot, that is an event that has to be reported to the Federal Aviation Administration not once, but twice. If you have a Coast Guard certification to pilot a vessel, a DWI is a reportable event. If you trade stocks, bonds or securities for the accounts of other people, that can be a reportable event. If you teach drivers education and motorcycle safety, you are prohibited from those occupations. If you drive a taxi or a limousine, you are prohibited from both occupations. Uber and other ride-sharing services may revoke your franchise with any traffic offense, not just DWI. If you have vanity (i.e., personalized) license plates, you lose your rights to possess them, even though that is very important for some people.
Telling Your Employer – Also, you have to be careful about what you disclose to your employer about getting a DUI ticket. Most employment in this country is called “at will.” That means that an employer can hire you or fire you for any reason or no reason at all as long as it is not based on a suspect classification, like race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and things like that. This means if you disclose your DWI to your employer, you could end up getting fired. Some people have very close relationships with their employers, and those employers might be offended if you don’t tell them. Therefore, it is very much an individualized judgment call and a sensitive choice.
Contracts And Employment. A lot of people are employed pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement or some kind of an employment policy. If you get a DWI charge, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with those agreements and policies because they may affect your rights and obligations with regard to reporting when you get one of these kinds of tickets. If there is also the requirement to report criminal charges, you have an argument that there is no need to report a DUI or a breath test refusal charge because in New Jersey, those offenses are not crimes. On the other hand, if those agreements and policies talk not only about crimes but also about serious traffic offenses, there would be an obligation to report. Again, based on the individual’s experience with the employer, that is very much their judgment call. Many people choose not to inform their employer even though they had an obligation to report, taking a calculated risk that they would be able to fly under their employer’s radar and that no one would be informed about the violation.
Restricted Licenses – As of December 1, 2019, New Jersey has authorized persons convicted of a first offense DWI with a breath test of less than .15 or no breath test results or breath test refusal to avoid significant driving privilege forfeiture [“DPF”]. If convicted, these individuals face an indefinite DPF (usually 1-5 days) during which the person must have an alcohol ignition interlock device [“AIID”] installed on whatever vehicle they will principally operate. For first offenders who have a breath test result of .15 or higher there is a 4-6 month DPF followed by an AIID restriction of 9-15 months. For second offenders, there is a 1-2 year DPF followed by an AIID restriction of 2-4 years. For third offenders, there is an 8-year DPF followed by an AIID restriction of 2-4 years. In all cases, the DPF does not begin until the person certifies that they have either installed an AIID in some vehicle or that they have no vehicle available. Otherwise, there is no provisional or work license in New Jersey. These driving privilege consequences are in addition to the usual fines, assessments, community service, and jail terms associated with conviction.
Public Transportation And Relocation – A person convicted of DWI or breath test refusal may also be forced to consider public transportation back and forth to work or whether to relocate to be closer to work. If you are facing a longer DPF period, you may even think about moving out of state and getting a license there. If you were to move out of state, you may want to get a license in the other state. There is a database called the Motor Vehicle Registry to which every state subscribes. Before conviction, if the new state were to check the registry, they would not see anything in New Jersey.
If you face a multi-year DPF, it is not uncommon for people to relocate to another state like Pennsylvania where the laws are a bit more tolerant, or New York where the reporting is a little uneven, or other states where there are better opportunities. If someone is contemplating to a move to another state, or if they happened to be a licensee of another state and get charged in New Jersey with DWI or breath test refusal, you should consult with a lawyer that specializes in DWI and refusal in that other state. These attorneys deal with these interstate consequences. Similarly, if a person is not an American citizen, they should consult with an immigration lawyer separate and independent from whatever advice the DWI attorney has to give them.
No Consequences Until Conviction – Most of the states would do immediate administrative revocation and that can cause problems. One of the few good things about New Jersey is that there are no consequences unless and until there is a conviction. The only obligation the person has if they are charged is to show up in court when required to do so. Moreover, you can go about your business in all other respects unless and until there is a conviction.
Read about some of the Collateral Consequences of a DWI Charge or call the law office of New Jersey DWI Attorney John Menzel, J.D., for a free Initial Consultation at (732) 218-9090 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.
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