Out-of-State DWI Suspensions and NJ License Holders – FAQs

We often field questions from prospective clients regarding how an out-of-state DWI can affect a person’s New Jersey license and privilege to drive. Below are some of the most common questions and answers. Contact a NJ License Suspension Attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall to find out more about how we can help you with your suspension.

How Can Out Of State DWI Suspensions Affect My New Jersey License?

Pursuant to the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, participant States must report each driving conviction of a person from another party State that occurs within its borders. New Jersey, as a participant in this compact, will receive notifications from other participant States (like New York), regarding Driving While Impaired or Driving While Intoxicated convictions. Upon notice of such a conviction, the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles will send you a notice of a hearing, whereby they will suspend your license in accordance with the way New Jersey treats your New York conviction. This means that you may not only have a year long suspension of your license in New York, but you will also be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle on the roads of New Jersey for a similar time period, sometimes more.

How Does New Jersey Determine the Length of Suspension for New York DWI/DWAI Convictions?

If the conduct reported from New York is not an offense in New Jersey, then New Jersey is required to impose the punishment associated with a substantially similar offense under New Jersey law. This is tricky for those charged with Driving While Ability Impaired in New York. Technically, DWAI in New York does not require the same proofs as New Jersey’ s Driving While Intoxicated offenses. Nevertheless, the Division of Motor Vehicles will likely attempt to suspend your license, under N.J.S.A. 39:5D-4(c), for a period either the same or longer than that of New York’s, especially if this would be your second dwi offense or third dwi offense.

If you were charged and subsequently convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired in New York, you could be hit with a license suspension as if you were charged with a DWI in New Jersey. This was specifically ruled upon by the New Jersey courts in Division of Motor Vehicles v. Lawrence, 194 N.J.Super. 1 (App. Div. 1983), whereby the Appellate Division held that the offense of driving while impaired under New York law is substantially similar to the New Jersey drunk driving offense under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a) and therefore warrants reciprocation of a suspension. 

Can I Reduce My License Suspension In New Jersey for DWI’s Out-of-State?

In some cases, a NJ MVC Hearing may be granted, and a reduction of the suspension may be afforded. After New Jersey’s Division of Motor Vehicles receives notice of another state’s DWI conviction (such as a New York DWAI), the New Jersey DMV will send you a letter of notice that your New Jersey driver’s license will be suspended. At that time you can retain a NJ License Suspension Attorney to request a hearing regarding your license suspension. The DMV will set a date for the hearing, at which point you can petition for a shorter suspension period in New Jersey. Often times the individual handling the hearing will agree to lower the suspension as much as half of the proposed period, sometimes more given the circumstances.

Every case is different, and it is best to contact an experienced attorney to see how you can fight your proposed suspension. Call us 24/7 at 1 (877) 450-8301 for a free, no-obligation consultation.


  1. About how long does it take for a state such as New York to notify New Jersey about a suspended license?

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