Will My DWI Case Be Decided By A Jury If I Go To Trial?
A DWI case in New Jersey will be decided by a judge during a bench trial rather than a jury trial. Juries may get involved to the extent that the DWI may be part of a criminal charge of vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, or endangering the welfare of a child, among other crimes. The jury would then decide the criminal charge while the judge presiding over the trial would decide guilt or innocence as to the DWI charge.
If I Am Charged With A DWI In Another State, Will It Count In New Jersey As A Prior Offense?
If a person is charged with a DWI in another state, it will count as a prior offense in New Jersey. In fact, prior DWIs can enhance later charges forever. The most critical time, however, is during the 10 years following a conviction. After 10 years, a defendant would be entitled to what we call a stepdown. For example, if someone is charged with a second DWI offense but it has been more than 10 years since they received the first DWI charge, then they would be sentenced as a first-time offender. If a person received a third DWI offense more than 10 years after commission of the second offense, then that person would be sentenced by the court as a second offender.
The court will look at the number of DWIs and convictions in a person’s lifetime, and a stepdown would be applied if there was at least a 10-year hiatus between the offense date for the last conviction and the offense date for the most current conviction. This means that if a person received a third DWI conviction within 10 years of a second DWI conviction, then they would be treated as a third-time offender. This is true even if the second DWI conviction was treated as a first DWI conviction for sentencing purposes. The impact of a prior conviction can last a lifetime.
If I Am From Another State And Found Guilty Of DWI In New Jersey, How Does That Impact Me?
If a person from another state is found to be guilty of DWI in New Jersey, that person should consult with an attorney in their home state to determine exactly how they would be affected. Most states will recognize a New Jersey DWI conviction and would have the option of either applying the law of their jurisdiction or adopting the consequences imposed by New Jersey.
Can I Do Community Service Instead Of Paying Fines Or Losing My License In A DWI Conviction?
Community service is not an alternative at sentencing. Rather, it is a component of sentencing for people convicted on second offenses. Those people would be required to perform 30 days community service. A day for community service purposes is six hours, which means 180 hours of free labor for the government.
Can DWI Convictions Be Removed From My Record?
DWI convictions are classified as traffic offenses in New Jersey and can never be removed from a driving record. There will be no criminal record, but the DWI conviction will be on a driver abstract maintained by the motor vehicle commission. If a person gets arrested for DWI but they do not get convicted, then there will be no record of the DWI arrest. It is only if a person is convicted that the motor vehicle commission will maintain a record of that conviction forever in a non-expungable form.
How Do I Get My Driver’s License Back After A DWI Conviction In New Jersey?
Anytime someone wants to obtain a driver’s license in New Jersey, they are required to bring a number of documents to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in order to establish their identity. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website explains this by assigning points to particular types of identity documents, and they require a minimum of six points. For example, a passport is worth five points, a prior New Jersey driver’s license or other government-issued picture identification is four or five points. The types of identification that are worth fewer points include credit cards, social security cards, and birth certificates. In addition to bringing those six points of identification, there is an $18 fee for the issuance of the license itself. If the license is revoked for whatever reason, there would be a $100 restoration fee. For restoring a license after having received a DWI, there is an additional $100 countermeasure fee and additional surcharges.
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