If you lose your driver’s license for any reason, you may feel as though you have no choice but to continue driving on NJ roads. After all, you still have to find a way to get to work every day. And you may need to perform other tasks that require you to travel great distances. However, driving with a suspended or revoked license in New Jersey is a big mistake. The law is very clear that you are not allowed to drive under any circumstances once your license has been suspended or revoked. Moreover, NJ does not even offer a temporary or provisional license to motorists whose licenses have been suspended.
Your driver’s license can be suspended for any number of reasons, including:
· Getting 12 points on your driving record, which is maintained by the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission.
· Committing a serious traffic offense, such as reckless driving.
· Causing a fatal auto accident.
· Not providing proof of motor vehicle insurance when requested by law enforcement.
· Abandoning your car on a public highway.
· Being convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
· Failing to make mandatory court appearances.
· Failing to pay court-ordered fines.
· Failing to pay child support.
Severe Penalties for Driving While Suspended in NJ
Regardless of the reason for your license suspension or revocation, or the reason for the suspension or revocation of your motor vehicle registration, it is critical that you abide by the law and stay off NJ roadways until such time that you are legally allowed to get behind the wheel of a car.
As set forth by N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, anyone caught driving with a suspended license in New Jersey is subject to severe penalties that include the following:
· $500 fine.
· $250 annual surcharge by the MVC, to be imposed for a period of three years.
· Extension of your license suspension period.
These penalties are magnified when the motorist has prior convictions for driving while suspended. For instance, a second offense for driving while suspended in NJ can lead to heavier fines and even jail time.
Beyond that, a motorist who drives while suspended and is involved in a serious car accident could be subject to a lengthy term of incarceration. That’s because the judge is bound by NJ law to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 days in the county jail for anyone who drives without a valid license and is involved in an accident that injures another person. Moreover, if the accident results in the death of another person, the offender could be charged with a felony-level offense and wind up behind bars for as many as five years.
Additionally, the reason for your initial license suspension matters a great deal when the judge imposes sentence in your case. For example, an offender whose license was suspended for a DWI will face mandatory jail time.
Fight Your Driving While Suspended Charges
The bottom line is that you do not want to get a conviction for driving while suspended on your record. That’s why it is crucial that you have a knowledgeable traffic defense attorney representing you and ensuring that the prosecution meets their substantial burden of proof in these types of cases. Depending on the circumstances of your specific case, it may even be possible to demonstrate that your license was not actually suspended at the time or that you did not receive fair and adequate notice of your license suspension.
If you have been cited for a traffic offense in Atlantic County, NJ, you need an experienced traffic defense lawyer representing you. The experienced criminal and traffic defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your ticket and keep your license. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.