In a recent drunk driving case, a woman from Pennsylvania admitted to drinking several beers and five shots of liquor before she got behind the wheel last December, in a wrong-way crash that left a New Jersey man dead, and three other people injured, DUI lawyers in New Jersey report. The woman, Amanda Rivera, was tried in New Jersey’s Superior Court, where she was convicted on one count of second-degree vehicular homicide and three counts of assault by automobile. Rivera, 23, has been recommended to serve a six-year prison sentence.
Rivera’s trial highlights the state and federal laws that govern out-of-state drunk driving cases. Because Rivera is from Pennsylvania, and was driving in New Jersey, she was charged under New Jersey’s laws.
New Jersey is one of several states in the country that participates in the “Drivers License Compact,” also known as the DLC. The DLC is an agreement that has been made between 45 states and the District of Columbia, and sets the rules for traffic-related convictions that occur outside of a driver’s state of residence. If a driver’s home state has a traffic law or statute that is equivalent to an offense in a non-resident state, an accident will be handled as if it took place in the state where the driver lives.
Related to the DLC is the “Non-Resident Violator Compact,” which is in effect in 44 participating states, including New Jersey. This compact safeguards the rights and privileges of a driver when he or she is driving in a non-resident state. If that out-of-state driver is stopped for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or any other driving-impaired related offense, he or she will be afforded the same rights as a resident driver of that state, including the right to due process and a trial by jury if necessary.
Included in the non-resident agreement is the stipulation that a driver must comply with the terms of the state in which they were stopped for a traffic violation. If that state issues a traffic citation that involves a fine, or formal criminal charges are filed, the driver has a duty to follow the state’s process for handling that issue. Any failure to comply with the other state’s requirements may be punishable by a license suspension from the driver’s home state.
As families and friends are traveling for the upcoming holiday weekend, the DUI attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, a New Jersey law firm, urge you to be safe, and drive smart. Although the Fourth of July is a great time to host and attend parties, picnics, and fireworks shows, be sure to keep your drinking to a safe level if you are planning on driving home afterwards. Appoint a designated driver, or arrange a carpool with a group of friends. Take steps to ensure that you are not charged with a DUI, because no matter where you are driving, the consequences can be severe. If you are facing DUI/DWI charges in New Jersey as a result of a stop in this state or any other, contact the attorneys at HCK for a consultation today.