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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23169
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi Fran, I received a DWI in New Jersey, I am a NYS resident.

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Hi Fran, I received a DWI in New Jersey, I am a NYS resident. I blew a .18 after taking the sobriety tests. I do not have 5000 dollars to pay a defense lawyer. If I plead guilty to this charge, will NYS see this as a common law DWI, or will they also recognize the .18 BAC? I ask this question because NYS has AGG-DWI charges. If NY recognizes the .18 BAC, this carries a penalty of 1year suspension of license with no conditional license. I need to be able to get back and forth to work independently, please help me.


These NY/NJ conflicts are always somewhat problematic. In NYS, a DWI is an aggravated DWI. In NJ, DUI is a motor vehicle offense and is not even considered a crime.

New York will see what is on your driver's abstract. If the BAC is flagged on your abstact, then NYS will see it and hold you accountable. From what I can see, however, the statutes are different because NJ will impose greater penalties for anything above .10 where for NY you wouldn't get the aggravated charge unless you were above .18.

So I would say that the statutes are not quite equivalent and unless the exact number was on the abstract (it isn't as far as I know) New York shouldn't treat it like an aggravated DWI.

That said, the way around it is to get a lawyer and to bargain this down to the common law DUI or to a reckless driving, either of which would avoid the problem. It won't be an easy sell, but if there was no accident or injuries, it may be possible.

While I understand that you don't want to have to have a lawyer, sometimes, especially if your job will be negatively affected, that's just what you should do. Sometimes, even if you can't afford a lawyer, you can't afford NOT to have one.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your reply Fran. I was told plea bargains are not possible in NJ, so any lawyer I hired would have to find something wrong with the arrest. I don't see where they would find something wrong. So basically I have to find out for certain if the BAC will be transferred onto my NYS abstract. If I call the DMV do you think they will tell me?

While reducing a DUI is against public policy just about everywhere, especially if the BAC is high, everythiing depends entirely upon the facts of the case. While NJ claims there are no plea bargains, that's not precisely true. A prosecutor even in NJ has the right to reduce a charge, and they can if the facts and circumstances of the case are favorable enough to the defense for a lawyer to convince a prosecutor to do it.

Call the NJ public defender's office first, since they work with NJ RAP sheets day in and day out and should know precisely how the charge will appear on your criminal history. They will be able to tell you, and they may even walk you through some tips for when you appear in court.

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