One day, you are driving around and completing errands. Then a police officer pulls you over, and you wonder what you did to earn a traffic ticket. But the news only becomes worse; your license is suspended, and you will face additional penalties because you continued to drive.
The state of New Jersey does not take kindly to driving with a license suspension. The minimum penalty includes a $500 fine and the possibility of your license remaining suspended for another six months. If the court suspended your license due to a DUI or driving without insurance, you face higher penalties and fines — especially if it is your third offense.
It is easy to panic when your driving privileges are at stake. The committed criminal defense attorneys at Breslow Law Offices offer the experience and skill needed to give you an effective defense for your traffic ticket. If you received a citation for driving while suspended, call our Verona office at (973) 239-8000 or the Long Beach office at (609) 494-8884 today to schedule a free lawyer consultation.
Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License in New Jersey
In the state of New Jersey, the penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license depend on your prior traffic offenses. If convicted for driving while suspended, your penalties include:
- First Offense: A $500 fine and an additional suspension of no more than six months.
- Second Offense: A $750 fine, an additional suspension of no more than six months, and a jail sentence of up to five days. If the conviction occurs within five years of the first offense, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) revokes your vehicle registration and plates.
- Third and Subsequent Offenses: A $1,000 fine, additional driver’s license suspension of no more than six months, and a jail sentence of no more than five days. If the current offense occurred within five years of a previous license suspension office, the MVC revokes your vehicle registration and plates.
These penalties increase if your suspension was for driving without insurance, school zone violations, and failure to pay surcharges. In these cases, you may face:
- Additional license suspension ranging from 12 to 30 months
- County jail imprisonment up to 90 days or 120 to 180 for second and subsequent violations
- Other surcharges and fines from the MVC that range from $250 to $3,000.
If your revocation or license suspension occurred due to driving while intoxicated (DWI), you may face a fourth-degree crime. This situation arises in cases where:
- You received two suspended license tickets during the same suspension period for a first time DWI/DUI offense; or
- You received a single suspended license violation after a second time DWI violation.
Fourth-degree crimes are felonies. Your penalties in these cases increase to:
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Jail time of up to 18 months; unlike other fourth degree crimes, this sentence is mandatory jail time
If you were involved in a personal injury accident while driving with a suspended license, the court could impose a jail sentence ranging from 45 to 180 days. You may also face additional charges like reckless driving or assault.
Fortunately, the process is more straightforward if your license suspension is due to unpaid parking tickets. Your maximum penalty is a $100 fine once you issue proof that you paid the tickets.
Driving while suspended tickets are not moving violations, so they do not add points to your driver’s license. However, they can add insurance points, which increase your car insurance premiums. If you face conviction for a fourth-degree crime, your insurance company may drop you entirely. If you already owe money for fines and license restoration fees, that only adds to your current financial burdens. It is why you should not proceed against these violations without legal assistance.
Reasons for License Suspension in New Jersey
Common reasons for license suspension include:
- Failure to pay traffic fines, surcharges
- Failure to make a court appearance connected with a traffic violation
- Driving without insurance or proof of insurance
- Driving after receiving a previous suspension order due to driving while intoxicated, refusing to submit to a chemical test, and being a habitual DUI offender
- Reckless driving conviction
- Fault in a fatal car accident
- Incurring 12 or more points on your driving record
- Physical or mental condition that disqualifies you from driving
The law requires the MVC to send notice to you of your license suspension. If you kept your address updated with the MVC and you never received notice, you may have a defense against your current driving while suspended violation.
New Jersey Law for Driving While License Suspended (NJSA 39:3-40)
New Jersey Statute 39:3-40 makes it illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle if they have a suspended license. Penalties fall under the general category unless your original license suspension was due to DUI, school zone violations, driving without insurance, and failure to pay surcharges.
The statute describes two types of suspensions: administrative and court-imposed. Administrative suspensions arise from the MVC and include suspensions based on points against your license, physical or mental disqualifications, or failure to pay surcharges. Court-imposed suspensions link to other offenses like DUI, injury accidents, and reckless driving. Where your suspension came from determines how we design your defense.
My License was Suspended! Now, What Do I Do?
Once you know your license was suspended, stop driving immediately. If you are caught again, the additional violations will increase your penalties. You do not want to make this worse than it already is!
Next, hire a traffic ticket attorney. The fines and penalties are too steep to risk handling this matter on your own. If you have a traffic violation defense lawyer on your side, you are less likely to face the most severe penalties. Taking this step is especially imperative if you faced previous convictions for reckless driving or driving while intoxicated.
When you hire an attorney at Breslow Law Offices, to achieve the best possible outcome we will:
- Provide a free consultation and case evaluation to hear your side of the matter.
- Research the facts of your case and find potential defenses
- Discuss issues with the prosecutor to possible reduce charges or fines
- Find the underlying cause of the suspension and a solution
- Guide you through the license restoration process
These steps are detail-oriented and often overwhelming. If you do not fill in the proper forms and file them on time, you could face another license suspension in the future. The best way to prevent that is by hiring a lawyer familiar with the criminal and administrative aspects of license suspension.
What Can I Do to Get my Suspended NJ License Reinstated?
First, be aware that license reinstatement does not happen automatically. You cannot merely start driving the day after your license suspension ends, or you risk incurring another driving while suspended violation.
Second, you must meet the conditions for license restoration or show the original suspension wasn’t valid. For example, your attorney may overturn a suspension by showing:
- You paid all fines and court costs associated with previous traffic violations.
- You carried auto insurance at the time you incurred a driving while insured violation.
- You never received notice of license suspension, even though you kept an updated record at the MVC.
- You reduced your license points out of the suspension range by attending a driver improvement or defensive driving program.
- You met all the conditions of a previous DUI sentence.
Your attorney requires proof of these actions, including receipts, copies of auto insurance policies, certificates from driver programs, and court orders regarding previous convictions. If you do not have access to these items, your attorney may find them for you.
However, if your suspension is correct under legal and administrative rules, you may need to wait until the end of your suspension. We may be able to show a misunderstanding or other extenuating circumstances that keep the court from extending your period of suspension.
Once you meet requirements or show the suspension is in error, you must pay a $100 restoration fee to the MVC. After that, you will receive a new driver’s license and become an official legal driver once again.
Speak with a New Jersey Suspended License Lawyer Today
There is a lot at stake when you face a traffic violation for driving with a suspended driver’s license in New Jersey. Without an experienced criminal defense attorney helping you through these procedures, you may face hefty fines and even jail time.
Worse yet, your original license suspension period may increase. Rather than risk a more significant hardship, call Breslow Law Offices and schedule a free consultation. Complete our online contact form today or call one of our offices at (973) 239-8000 (Verona) or (609) 494-8884 (Long Beach).