January 4, 2021

What Happens if You Get a DUI on Federal Property in New Jersey?

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It’s never good to be charged with a DUI. In New Jersey specifically, you must speak with a DUI lawyer in or around Camden County because the law carries heavier penalties in NJ than it typically does in other states. However, despite how strict NJ’s rules can be, getting charged federally with a DUI adds a whole new level of complexity to the legal assistance you might need.

It’s perfectly understandable if you believe that every DUI charge is the same as the laws in your home state. Very few people want to run afoul of those laws, and even fewer may realize that the federal government has penalties of its own. Here’s are some things you need to know about a federal DUI charge:

Where Can You Be Charged Federally?

A federal DUI charge can be brought on anyone who is caught driving under the influence on federal property, such as Fort Dix. In NJ, this can mean that if you’re driving drunk in a national park, on a military installation, or other federal grounds, you can face charges from the federal government as well as the state. While this may feel like a concept that would run against the idea of “double jeopardy” – or being charged for the same crime twice – it’s possible because both the federal and state governments have jurisdiction over the space you were driving in. Due to this concurrent jurisdiction, you’re liable for charges from both authorities.

How Does It Change the Charge?

Being charged federally changes the DUI charge in a couple of ways. First and foremost, a federal DUI charge carries stiffer penalties, including higher fines, longer license suspension, and longer jail time for each occurrence.

Second, and perhaps more notably, it changes the DUI charge from a traffic violation to a criminal one. In the state of NJ, DUIs are severe, but they don’t carry criminal penalties, as they are seen as an issue that can be resolved in traffic court. The federal government, by contrast, views a DUI charge as a criminal offense, which usually carries some degree of jail time at a federal facility.

What Can Be Done About a Conviction?

If you’ve been convicted of a federal DUI, that doesn’t mean that you’re out of options. In some circumstances, an appeal might be possible, which will offer another opportunity to prove your case, though the criteria are different at the federal level than at the traffic court level.

However, if an appeal isn’t possible, then the only thing that can be done about your conviction is receiving a presidential pardon. Barring such a pardon, you’ll carry the federal DUI charge on your record for the rest of your life.

To find out more about getting charged with a DUI on federal property, or to speak with a DUI defense attorney serving Burlington County, call the the Law Offices of Jason C. Pollack, P.C. today!

Author: Jason Pollack
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