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Ignition Interlock for Out of State Drivers with a NJ DWI

If you are licensed in a state other than New Jersey, and you are arrested for a New Jersey DWI, you must be aware of additional circumstances when determining how to proceed in your New Jersey DWI defense. In addition to determining your best course of defense, you must understand not only the consequences that would result from a New Jersey DWI conviction and the penalties imposed in New Jersey, but you must also know how your home state will treat the conviction.

If you are convicted of a first offense New Jersey DWI with a breath or blood alcohol result of 0.15% or greater, or you are convicted of a second or greater DWI in New Jersey, one of the requirements of your sentence will be that you must install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle that you operate. However, if you are an out of state licensed driver, New Jersey cannot compel your home state to require that an ignition interlock device be installed on an out-of-state vehicle not operated in New Jersey.  But, if you drive any vehicle in New Jersey, you can only operate a vehicle that has an ignition interlock device installed in it. In other words, if you are not driving in New Jersey, it will depend on how your home state accepts the New Jersey ignition interlock requirement, and whether your home state will require you to install the interlock on your out-of-state vehicle.

For example, a Pennsylvania licensed driver, who will not drive in New Jersey during the period that he or she is required to have an ignition interlock device installed in New Jersey, will not be required by Pennsylvania to have an ignition interlock device installed in a Pennsylvania vehicle. The New Jersey requirement for the ignition interlock device only pertains to operation of a vehicle in New Jersey. Other states, however may treat the requirement for installation of the ignition interlock device differently.

Where a Pennsylvania licensed driver operates that Pennsylvania registered vehicle everywhere but New Jersey, he will not have to install the device in his Pennsylvania vehicle. He may, however have to install the device just to get his privileges restored in New Jersey. Even though the driver may never return to New Jersey, he still must have his New Jersey privileges restored. If he does not, then when he goes to renew his Pennsylvania license, Pennsylvania will check the National Driver Register, which will show a suspension or a hold on his New Jersey privileges. When Pennsylvania sees that hold, Pennsylvania will not issue a renewal license. The driver will then have to clear the out of state suspension, in order to obtain the renewal license.

If the Pennsylvania licensed driver in this example does intend to drive his Pennsylvania vehicle in New Jersey during the interlock period, he must install an ignition interlock device in his Pennsylvania vehicle. Or, he can only operate a vehicle installed with an interlock device while driving in New Jersey during that interlock period.

This is only one of many out of state considerations that you must understand prior to resolving your New Jersey DWI case.  It is critical to consult with a qualified New Jersey DWI lawyer who understands these issues. Please contact us at Levow & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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