NJ Driving While Suspended Defense Lawyer
Driving a motor vehicle is a necessary component of almost every adult’s daily live. Whether its driving to work, transporting children or just running an errand, driving privileges are an absolute imperative. It naturally follows that suspension of your driver’s license can create considerable hardship. Getting caught for driving while suspended only creates that much more inconvenience. This is a primary reason why you need to hire a skilled NJ driving while suspended defense lawyer if you have been charged with violating N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.
The attorneys at our New Jersey traffic defense firm have the tools that you need to successfully defend your driving while suspended ticket. We have over 200 years of experience between us, including many years serving as prosecutors, and are ready to utilize all of our resources to insure that you avoid a conviction. To speak to attorney on our team in a free initial consultation, call us anytime 24/7 at 877-450-8301.
What the Law Saws About Operating a Vehicle With a Suspended License
The law is very clear about when it prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle, reading that any person whose license has been suspended or revoked, or whose license privilege has been refused,shall refrain from operating a motor vehicle (during the period of suspension). A person is also prohibited from operating a vehicle that is not registered. The failure to adhere to this law – i.e., operating a car after being refused a driver’s license, or while your driver’s license is suspended – carries penalties. It should be noted that the penalties are harsher for those whose licenses have been revoked for specific reasons (i.e. a driving while under the influence charge).
Some of the most common reasons why a license may be suspended include:
- Failing to pay court fines or appear in court if requested to do so;
- Committing enough traffic offenses to earn 12 points or more on your record;
- Causing a fatal accident;
- Committing an act of reckless driving;
- Driving while under the influence;
- Failing to pay surcharges; and
- Failing to insure a vehicle prior to its operation.
A person may also be guilty of operating a vehicle with a suspended license in the event that their license privilege was refused; this is most common as a result of a mental or physical condition.
The Penalties for Operating a Vehicle with a Suspended License
Under N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, driving with a suspended license is punished based on the number of offenses the person in question commits, the original reason why the person’s license was suspended, and whether or not the person causes bodily harm or injury to another while operating their vehicle sans license.
Driving with a suspended license, generally, is punishable as:
- First offense: $500 fine, and a license suspension of up to six months.
- Second offense: $750 fine, imprisonment of up to five days, and license suspension of up to six months.
- Third and subsequent offense: $1,000 fine, imprisonment of up to 10 days, and a license suspension of up to six months.
If the defendant’s license was originally suspended due to a driving without insurance conviction (New Jersey Statutes Annotated 39:6B-2), or if the suspension was a result of a driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to chemical test, or habitual offender conviction, then the penalties are:
- First offense: $1,000 fine, imprisonment of up to 90 days (and not less than 10 days for all cases with the exception of those involving a driver whose license was suspended for a driving without insurance conviction), and a driver’s license suspension between 12 and 30 months.
- Second offense: $1,250 fine, imprisonment of up to 90 days (and not less than 10 days for all cases with the exception of those involving a driver whose license was suspended for a driving without insurance conviction), and a driver’s license suspension between 12 and 30 months.
- Third and subsequent offense: $1,500 fine, imprisonment of not less than 10 days nor more than 90 days, and a driver’s license suspension between 12 and 30 months.
Penalties again change for defendants who suspension is for driving while intoxicated within a school zone. A person who is found guilty of driving while suspended whose license was suspended due to a prior driving while intoxicated in a school zone offense will be subject to the following penalties:
- First offense: $1,000 fine, incarceration of not less than 60 days nor no more than 90 days, and a driver’s license suspension between 12 and 30 months.
- Second offense: $1,250 fine, incarceration of not less than 120 days nor more than 150 days, and a driver’s license suspension between 12 and 30 months.
- Third and subsequent offense: $1,500 fine, incarceration of 180 days, and driver’s license suspension between 12 and 30 months.
Finally, a driver will face a whole separate set of penalties if convicted of driving while suspended, if the original reason for license suspension was a failure to pay surcharges. If this is the case, the defendant – if convicted – will be penalized in the following manner:
- First offense: $500 fine, license suspension of up to six months, and $3,000 fine payable to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which may be waived if surcharge is paid in full.
- Second offense: $750 fine, driver’s license suspension of up to six months, imprisonment of up to five days, and the $3,000 DMV fine (which may be waived).
- Third offense: $1,000 fine, driver’s license suspension of up to six months, imprisonment of 10 days, and the $3,000 DMV fine (which may be waived).
In addition to the penalties listed above, a person will also have to take proactive measures in order to have their license reinstated at the conclusion of the suspension period. This will include the payment of a license restoration fee.
As is evident by the severity of penalties listed above, being convicted of a driving while suspended license charge can have a serious effect on your life, both personally and financially. Paying hundreds of dollars in fees, spending time in jail, and facing further license suspension – which could prevent you from doing critical things in your life, like traveling to your place of employment – can be impairing. If you find yourself in this situation, seeking legal counsel is highly advised.
Fighting a Driving While Suspended Charge
Understanding your legal rights if you have been charged with driving while suspended is critical, and for this reason, it is within your best interest to consult with an experienced New Jersey traffic offense attorney.
The process of being charged, and defending yourself against those charges, is often confusing. Keep in mind that a charge and a conviction are not the same thing; once you have been charged, the prosecution must present evidence that a) you were the person operating the vehicle in question, and b) you were doing so with a suspended license. If these two elements cannot be established, then a conviction is not possible and you will not face the penalties listed above.
It can be very hard for the prosecution to produce evidence of the two criteria above, especially in a timely manner. In many cases, the prosecution fails to obtain evidence of suspension paper (to prove that the driver’s license had indeed been suspended). When this is the case, the prosecution may ask to postpone proceedings in order to take more time to gather evidence. This is where our experienced legal team can step in with an objection to adjournment/postponement by reminding the court of your legal right to a speedy trial. When this occurs, the prosecution may be more willing to reduce charges against you, which can save you time, money, and numerous other future consequences.
In addition to advocating for your right to a speedy trial, our knowledgeable attorneys can also help you to build a strong case around other elements of a conviction, such as the duty of the prosecution to prove that you were operating the vehicle. If you were sitting in the vehicle but not driving it, or if another person was driving a vehicle in which you were a passenger and you have been wrongly charged, we can help you to prove it. We have the legal experience to proactively fight the charges levied by the state. We will explore all viable defense options.
New Jersey Driving While Suspended Attorneys
The New Jersey driving while suspended attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are here to protect your legal rights so that you have every chance of averting a finding of guilt. If you were arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle with a license that was revoked, the truth is that we can escape a conviction in most cases. To speak to one of the lawyers at our firm, call our office at 877-450-8301 for a free initial consultation. We are available 24/7 to assist you.