A fatal accident last month raised a number of questions about how prior charges for driving under the influence apply to a potential license revocation. In general, a certain number of convictions within a specific time period will result in a revocation. But depending on the circumstances not every incident may be treated the same.

After the recent accident, there was some confusion about the legitimacy of the driver’s license status. It had been reported that the driver had several prior DUI charges. A spokesman for the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission explained that a driver may lose his license for ten years after a third conviction within ten years of a second conviction. Despite four arrests for the driver involved in the accident, his license had not been suspended. A prosecutor in the case explained that two of the arrests did not count towards that total.

The first arrest occurred when the driver was a teenager and was driving a moped, which the prosecutor indicated was governed by a separate statute. The second also occurred when the driver was not of legal drinking age and resulted of a charge of driving after having consumed liquor while underage. This also falls under a different statute.

The other two arrests did result in suspensions of less than a year, but not the ten year suspension that the Motor Vehicles Commission spokesman had referred to.

While these various charges may look superficially similar, they can each carry their own separate consequences. If you are facing any of these types of charges it is important to work with an attorney who is experienced in DUI cases and has a deep understanding of the various factors that can affect the outcome.

Source: Barnegat-Ocean Acres Patch “Driver in Accident That Killed Barnegat Man Receives Traffic Summonses,” Graelyn Brashear, Oct. 26, 2011