A conviction for certain traffic offenses, drunk driving, most drug crimes, or vehicular homicide, will ordinarily result in the suspension of a driver’s license as part of the sentence. In addition to losing the privilege to drive in New Jersey, until restoration by the Department of Motor Vehicles, a motorist from another state, also faces a reciprocal suspension by his or her home state. By the same token, a New Jersey driver convicted in another state faces a reciprocal suspension here.
Reciprocity adds an extra complication to a conviction because it can lengthen the overall period of license suspension.
A conviction in this state or any other one can also result in enhanced penalties for future convictions in certain cases, like drunk driving or driving while suspended. Equally important, the driver’s motor vehicle abstract, the full history of a person’s driving record, shows all convictions. Presentence reports prepared for judges reveal out-of-state convictions that are reciprocally honored in the client’s home state. Like all criminal records, called “rap sheets,” the more negative information that a judge sees, the more likely it will result in a harsh sentence.
A criminal defense attorney can help a client minimize the impact of a conviction, not only in New Jersey, but the client’s home state. When the potential consequences in the client’s home state are severe, it may be necessary for the New Jersey criminal defense attorney to refer the client to a criminal lawyer close to the client’s home.