Prosecution and Defense

Temporary Work Licenses in New Jersey

I was just convicted for a DWI offense. Does New Jersey have any type of programs for temporary or restricted driver’s licenses?

One of the most common DWI questions I receive is whether a defendant can obtain a work license if he is convicted of DWI or a refusal. The answer unfortunately in New Jersey is a clear and unequivocal no! Thirty other states  have temporary or work license for a defendant if he is convicted for DWI. However, regretfully New Jersey does not provide for any type of application for a defendant to apply for a temporary/restricted or sunset driver’s license.  Instead, if a defendant is found guilty of a DWI or a refusal charge then he must immediately turn in his diver’s license to the court. If the defendant has an out-of-state driver’s license, then the court has no legal authority to order you to turn in your out of state license. However, the out of state driver can no longer legally drive in New Jersey even though their out of state license is still valid.

Once you have lost your license in the state of New Jersey you simply can’t drive at all. There are no loopholes or exceptions to this rule. Given the fact that New Jersey is the most crowded state in the United States, if temporary licenses were issued, then sooner or later there would be a disaster and another driver or pedestrian would be killed by the DWI driver with the temporary driver’s license. This type of disaster would of course be on the covers of the Star Ledger and Asbury Park Press. There has been significant amount of news about the New Jersey Legislature possibly enacting temporary licences. However, in my professional opinion temporary driver licences will never be enacted in New Jersey. The DWI laws are getting harder each and every year. Therefore, enacting work licenses would go “against the grain” and it would actually lessen the deterrence of the DWI laws. Many people would be less worried about being busted for DWI, because they would figure even if I get convicted I could always get a work driver’s license. So what is the big deal if I am stopped for DWI? This is not the message that the local Police Departments want to project to the public. Thus, restrict work license will never become reality in New Jersey.