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How to Reduce or Eliminate Your License Suspension if You’re Charged With a DWI


A conviction for drunk driving in New Jersey results in severe penalties, including an automatic suspension or revocation of your driver’s license for anywhere from 3 months to 10 years. Without a license, everyday activities like going to school, getting to work, and running errands become exceedingly difficult. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, however, it’s often possible to build a solid defense and prevent an extended license suspension.

If you’re looking for a DWI defense lawyer, contact me, Anthony N Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, at 908-643-6801 for a free and confidential consultation. I’ve been successfully representing clients charged with DWIs in Union County, Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Essex County, Hudson County, and Ocean County for over 35 years, and I can help you protect your driving privileges.

To protect your driving privileges, follow the advice in this article.

  • Hire an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney
    The most important thing you can do to protect your driving privileges is to hire an experienced New Jersey license suspension attorney. Even if you were caught red-handed, a skilled DWI defense attorney can get your charges reduced or dismissed by challenging the collection of evidence, asserting your constitutional rights, or working to create holes in the prosecution’s case. The state has an extremely high success rate in prosecuting DWI cases, so without an attorney, a guilty conviction and license suspension is almost guaranteed.
  • Avoid Multiple DWI Convictions.
    Multiple DUI/DWI convictions result in much longer license suspensions: for a first time offense, your license is automatically suspended for 3 months to a year, while a second DWI offense results in a 2 year license suspension and a third offense carries a 10 year suspension. As a result, avoiding multiple DWI charges is one of the best ways to keep your driving privileges. Even if you face a subsequent DWI charge, however, your DUI lawyer may be able to have it downgraded to a first offense or dismissed entirely, leading to a shorter license suspension or no suspension at all.
  • Avoid being pulled over for any reason, not just drunk driving.
    For a police officer to have the right to pull you over, he must have a reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation has occurred. This reasonable suspicion can be based on seeing you swerving or weaving between the lines, but you can be arrested for driving while impaired even if the police officer initially pulled you over for an unrelated violation. Because of this, you should always be careful to follow the rules of the road and you should take the time to make inexpensive repairs like replacing burned out bulbs and missing license plates.
  • Know what to do if you’re pulled over for drunk driving.
    If you get pulled over for drunk driving, you may be able to avoid a DWI and the accompanying license suspension by being courteous and respectful toward the police officer and not giving him any reason to believe that you’ve been drinking. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right not to incriminate yourself, so if the police officer asks you if you’ve been drinking, politely decline to answer any questions concerning drinking or where you were prior to being pulled over. No matter how much the police officer encourages you to cooperate, never admit that you’ve had even just one or two drinks—being candid won’t help you and police officers rarely believe drivers who say they’ve only had a few drinks.
  • Always refuse to take field sobriety tests.
    Under New Jersey law you’re not required to take any field sobriety tests, such as walking heel to toe or reciting the alphabet backwards. These tests aren’t designed to help you and you can fail them even if you’re sober due to poor balance, medical conditions, or poor vision.
  • Never refuse to take a breathalyzer test.
    Unlike field sobriety tests, you have no right in New Jersey to refuse a breathalyzer test or any other blood alcohol content test. Refusing a breath test will result in an automatic license suspension for at least 7 months, even if you weren’t drinking.
  • Understand how to reinstate your driving privileges
    If your license has already been suspended, before you can drive again you’re required to apply for a license reinstatement and pay a $100 fee. If you follow the application procedure, your license will remain technically suspended and getting caught driving will result in an even longer license suspension.

If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, the most important thing you can do to protect your driving privileges is to hire an experienced New Jersey DUI/DWI defense attorney. A skilled lawyer like Anthony N. Palumbo will be able to build a defense and help to get your charges reduced, downgraded, or even dismissed.

Your lawyer can also give you advice about how to avoid future DWIs and longer license suspensions by explaining how to avoid unrelated traffic stops, telling you what you should do if you get pulled over for drunk driving, explaining which field sobriety tests you should always refuse and which chemical tests you should never refuse, and advising you about how to reinstate your license.

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