A driver’s license gives you the freedom to go where you want when you want. From the moment you receive your license, you rely on the privilege of operating a motor vehicle for travel.
When your license is suspended, you are stripped of those privileges and freedoms. Furthermore, operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license can have long-lasting financial, emotional, and legal impacts.
The Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC will fight for you. Call today to speak with our experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney about your legal options.
Why is my license suspended or revoked?
There are several reasons a license may be suspended or revoked, including:
- Driving violations: Driving violations run the gamut from failing to safely change lanes or driving carelessly to speeding or failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. Each violation, depending on the severity of the offense, can cause you to incur points that are recorded on your driving record and can increase your insurance rates.
In New Jersey, if you accumulate six or more points in 3 years, you will be assessed a $150 surcharge plus $25 for each additional point. If you receive 12 or more points, your license will be suspended, and you will receive a notice of a scheduled suspension from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in the mail.
- Failing to appear in court or abide by court-ordered fines or support: Failing to appear for a court date, whether the reason for the hearing is a traffic-related case, is a serious offense. A judge presiding over a municipal court case can order that your license be suspended and a warrant is issued for your arrest if you fail to appear for a court hearing, if you fail to pay a court-ordered fine, or if you have fallen six months or more behind on child-support payments.
You will then have to meet requirements — which may include appearing in court or catching up on payments — the warrant for your arrest may be lifted, and you can request that the suspension of your license be removed.
- Failing to pay parking tickets: Similar to failing to appear in court or to pay a court-ordered fine, your license could be suspended by a municipal court if you fail to pay parking tickets. In order to begin the process of securing your driving privileges once again, you must appear in court and either contest the parking ticket or pay the fine. Failure to do so may result in your arrest. Having automobile insurance is mandatory in New Jersey.
Driving without vehicle insurance is a violation of the law and penalties for driving while uninsured can include fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and time in jail. If your license is suspended for failing to carry insurance, you may be able to get the suspension lifted d by providing proof of insurance to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) or turning in the uninsured vehicle’s registration and license plates to the MVC.
Before you can re-register your vehicle and drive lawfully again, you must pay any associated fines and wait for the suspension period to come to an end.
- After meeting the individual requirements for your unique situation, you must also pay a $100 license restoration fee before you can get back behind the wheel.
What are the consequences of driving with a suspended or revoked license?
Driving with a suspended or revoked license can have drastic consequences. These consequences vary depending on the driver’s record. Generally, operating a vehicle while on the suspended or revoked list can result in:
- A fine of $500 for first-time offenders.
- A fine of $750 and a mandatory sentence of 1-5 days in county jail for a second-time offender. If the second offense occurred within 5 years of the first, registration privileges will also be revoked.
- A fine of $1,000 and a maximum sentence of 10 days in county jail for a third-time offender. If, while driving without a valid license, the driver committed additional traffic offenses, they may also be subject to an additional 10 days in county jail.
- If, while driving with a suspended license, bodily injury was involved, the individual may also be subject to a jail sentence of 45-180 days.
- All convictions carry a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission fee of $250 per year for the 3 years that follow, and a judge can extend the driver’s license suspension for an additional six months.
- If the person was driving while on the suspended list issued pursuant to the statute for operating a motor vehicle without liability insurance, an additional $500 fine will be imposed and the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for a period of not less than 1 year and not more than 2 years and may be sentenced to not more than 90 days in the county jail.
- If the person’s license was suspended for a conviction for DWI/DUI, an additional fine of $500 will be imposed, the person’s license to a motor vehicle will be suspended for an additional period of 1 to 2 years, and the person will be sentenced to 10 to 90 days in the county jail.
- This offense also carries the possibility of being charged with a fourth-degree felony under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26 which carries a penalty of up to 18 months in state prison with a mandatory period of imprisonment of 6 months during which the person cannot participate in alternate programs which do not involve incarceration.
- The above penalties apply to the owner of a motor vehicle who knowingly allows another person whose driving privileges are suspended to drive the motor vehicle.
Additional penalties could be issued if:
- The individual was operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license on school property or within 1,000 feet of a school.
- The individual was operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license while driving through a school crossing as designated by a municipal ordinance or resolution.
- The individual was operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license while driving through a school crossing that is not designated by a municipal ordinance or resolution but knowing minors were present.
Contact our experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
In the event that your license is suspended or revoked, you may feel limited in your ability to participate in everyday activities. Driving with a suspended license, failure to pay past due fines, or financial hardships can strip you of your driving privileges.
The Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC has over 25 years of experience successfully fighting for New Jersey drivers’ rights. We will help you understand the law, your defenses to the charge, and your legal options. Call (856) 245-5913 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced New Jersey Criminal defense attorney so you can return to driving.