How Long Does a DWI Stay on Your Driving History in New Jersey?
A DWI conviction can have serious repercussions on your eligibility for employment, financial loans, and even scholarships. If your previous career involved using a vehicle, you could even find yourself out of a job, and this is before taking into account the fines and penalties that could follow a conviction.
This article answers a very crucial question: how long does a DWI stay on your driving history in NJ? If you have been accused of driving while intoxicated, consult a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately.
Penalties of a DWI Conviction
A DUI is defined as operating a motor vehicle or boat with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. If you are convicted of a DWI, your penalties, which are defined under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, will depend on whether you have previous convictions.
New Jersey follows a ‘step-down’ rule, which means that the penalties for a DWI conviction increase for multiple offenses within ten years from the previous offense. A second or third conviction within ten years of the first will result in steeper fines and jail time.
Besides multiple convictions, punishment for a conviction will also vary depending on your BAC levels. A first DUI offense with different BAC levels will carry the following penalties:
- 0.08 to 0.10 – $250-$400 fine, 3 months’ license suspension, 12 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
- Over 0.10 – $300-$500 fine, 7 months to 1-year license suspension, 12 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
- 0.15 or higher – Mandatory ignition interlock for 1 year or more.
Driving Record vs. Criminal Record
A DWI conviction in New Jersey is considered a traffic offense and not a criminal one. It will usually remain on your driving record with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission permanently. Although the effects on your life may lessen and drop over time, the information will always be accessible to law enforcement officers in the country.
The state holds that driving while intoxicated is a serious offense, which is why it has permanent record status. Anyone who runs a background check on you, such as an employer, could discover your conviction.
That said, a DWI does not go onto your criminal record. Your employer must be looking for a DWI conviction specifically to find it.
Defendants in New Jersey can have some convictions expunged from their records. Unfortunately, a DWI does not fall into this category and will usually remain on your permanent driving record. You can, however, challenge the court’s decision through a post-conviction relief motion.
A post-conviction relief argument is made under the claim that your trial attorney did a bad job of defending you and, in so doing, hurt your case. DWI appeals like this are rarely successful though they are not harmful and could get your penalties reduced.
Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney
Matthew V. Portella, LLC is an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer who has been defending the rights of criminal defendants in the state since 1995. He is dedicated to minimizing the repercussions of prosecution on you and your loved ones.
If you have concerns about how long a DWI stays on your driving history in NJ, contact his office today at 856-245-5911 to schedule a free initial consultation.