• Judge Michael Donio

Ask the Judge: Is it true what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?



I was on vacation in Vegas, and I received a DUI. Will that stay in Vegas, or am I in trouble in New Jersey? I heard different things.


What happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas. Many states have reciprocal agreements with other states including New Jersey. That means that in certain states they will send that conviction to the state of New Jersey, and it will go on your driving record in New Jersey. I am not sure if Vegas is a part of that program.


However, you need to address this in Vegas because if you do nothing there will be a warrant issued for non-appearance and if you are ever back in Vegas for instance driving a car and get stopped, they may actually take you in to the police station in an attempt to keep you unless you post sufficient bond.


Therefore, my advice is probably to hire a Vegas attorney to deal with the matter to get it resolved one way or the other in Vegas. Then you can get that lawyer check to see if New Jersey will also suspend your license for that or if it is not part of the reciprocal agreement with Vegas.


The bottom line is that this is something you should not just ignore but start to take care of it in Vegas.


How often should you revise your will?


Unfortunately, that is not a one size fits all question. There’s a lot of factors that go into that answer. I have seen wills that were written in 20-25 years ago that are still perfectly fine. I have also seen wills that for many reasons get redone every couple of years.


Some of the things that go into that decision are as follows. Did one of your beneficiaries such as a spouse or a child recently died? Were you recently divorced? Did you recently come into a lot of money through an inheritance or sale of a business or something of that nature? Did you start a new business with another person outside of your family? Have you recently acquired real estate whether to live there or as a rental property? These are all of the things that go into the equation.


I think the most serious of those questions is for instance if you have recently lost a spouse and even more so a child. Your original will probably was set up leaving things equally to your children. In the event of an untimely death, you have to think a head in make appropriate changes to take care of that child’s children or some type of other arrangements. That may necessitate setting up trusts, naming people to manage money and things of that nature.


So, the easy answer to your question is that when you have any life altering event including the list above, it is time at a minimum to look at your will, see if it is then still sufficient, and if not make an appointment to have it updated.


In my mediation practice, I am seeing more and more cases of contest to wills upon someone death as a result of either undue influence or challenges to the person’s capacity to make a will by a beneficiary. I can tell you that that litigation is not pretty.


A lot of money is spent with the lawyers that comes out of the estate and all of that must be taken into account to make sure your will says exactly what you wanted to say.



Judge Michael Donio served as a New Jersey State Superior Court Judge for 20 years before retiring on July 31, 2015. He now operates a legal consulting and mediation firm on the White Horse Pike. Donio can be reached by calling (609) 481-2919. Send your questions for his columns to askthejudge@hammontongazette.com.