Pleasantville Motor Vehicle Commission Hearing Lawyer
Under New Jersey Statutes Title 39, the Motor Vehicle Commission (formerly known as the DMV) has the authority to suspend or revoke a driver’s license and/or a registration in a variety of circumstances. The Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) initiates the process by mailing a Scheduled Suspension Notice to the address listed on the driver’s license.
The notice outlines a series of steps the driver must follow to avoid the proposed suspension taking effect on the given date. Often, addressing a Scheduled Suspension Notice can be a confusing process; below, we’ll cover some common questions regarding MVC hearings, and important information to be aware of as you prepare to respond.
At the Law Offices of Matthew V. Portella, we try to assist you at every step in the legal process if you have any more questions schedule a free consultation with our Pleasantville criminal defense attorneys.
Why is the MVC suspending your license?
There are many possible reasons for a license suspension. The MVC may administratively suspend someone’s driver’s license based on a violation of motor vehicle law or any other “reasonable grounds.”
The most common reasons for suspension are an accumulation of points, driving during a period of suspension, or a DUI charge. Other reasons include:
- Accidents involving serious bodily injury or fatality
- Leaving the scene of an accident involving a serious injury or fatality
- Tickets or moving violations during a period of suspension
- Violation of license probation or the warning period after a suspension
- Incorrect statement of fact on a motor vehicle application
- Three or more suspensions
If you have received a Scheduled Suspension Notice from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, it is important to promptly take action. Failure to request a hearing before the date specified on the notice will result in automatic suspension of your license.
To avoid automatic suspension, you must make your request for a hearing in an appropriate and timely manner. If you have received a Scheduled Suspension Notice and you are unsure what to do next, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey MVC hearing attorney.
Responding to a Scheduled Suspension Notice
Before a suspension can take effect, the MVC must mail the driver two notices. The first is the Scheduled Suspension Notice, which allows the driver to challenge the suspension. The second is the Confirmed Suspension Notice, which a driver will receive after a hearing or automatically for failure to respond to a Scheduled Suspension notice.
By law, the MVC is only required to mail the notices to your last known address, which is the address of record on your driver’s license. This can be an issue because people often move and fail to notify the MVC of their address change. As a result, you may be unaware you were notified of a pending suspension.
According to New Jersey Statute 39:5-30, the notice of proposed suspension will state the grounds for the proposed suspension. Further, §39:5-30(b) provides the proposed suspension becomes effective 15 days from the date of mailing unless the licensee requests a hearing in writing within ten days from the date the notice was mailed. It is crucial to request a hearing within the time specified.
Failing to Respond
If the driver fails to provide a written request for a hearing, as required, the MVC will suspend their driver’s license by the effective date indicated in the notice. If the individual requests a hearing, then the MVC will not impose the license suspension until the MVC makes a decision at the hearing.
You are not automatically entitled to a suspension hearing, you must request one. It is critical to request a hearing in writing and without delay. It is best to send the request by certified mail so that you have proof that you responded to the notice within the time limit. Your request for a hearing must also include a compelling argument explaining why you should be permitted to keep your license.
The MVC will not grant a hearing unless the letter recites specific contested facts or legal issues (or both). Otherwise, the MVC may decide to deny your request. The MVC will notify the driver that the hearing request has been denied, and will set a date on which the driver’s license suspension will take effect.
What happens at the hearing?
In some cases, the MVC requires the driver to attend a prehearing conference conducted by a representative of the MVC. If the driver fails to attend the conference, the MVC will consider the request abandoned and will proceed to issue the Confirmed Suspension Notice.
Typically, the MVC will require a prehearing conference if there are questions concerning material facts. If the individual has requested the hearing only based on legal issues, the MVC has three choices: (1) decide the legal issues without a hearing (with the opportunity for a hearing at a later time), (2) schedule a prehearing conference, or (3) refer the matter to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law.
At the prehearing conference, the MVC will consider any disputed material facts and legal issues, and typically try to negotiate an agreement to resolve the matter. They will look at your driving history, what infractions you have incurred, and how the suspension of your license will affect you.
Depending on the facts of the case, possible resolutions may include retracting the suspension, reducing the length of the suspension, or proposing alternative penalties. The matter will be concluded if the driver accepts the proposed resolution.
After resolving all legal and factual issues, if the MVC representative determines the proposed suspension is the appropriate penalty, the driver will be notified of the date the suspension will take effect. At this point, the driver can either accept the suspension or file a judicial appeal in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.
How will an attorney help with this process?
An experienced MVC hearing attorney can investigate the circumstances that lead to your suspension. Understanding all the circumstances is important in both your request for a hearing and the hearing itself.
This allows your attorney to fight for your rights by presenting all of the disputed material facts and legal issues in a clear and compelling manner. For example, he or she may explain how the suspension would be a serious hardship for you and your family, which can persuade the MVC representative to consider alternative penalties.
Based on the facts of your case, the law may clearly support a suspension; even so, an attorney may be able to argue for a shorter suspension, or less-severe alternative penalties, such as driver education classes or community service. To estimate the effectiveness of the prospective lawyer look at the attorney’s client testimonials.
Contact a Pleasantville MVC Hearing Attorney like Matthew V. Portella
A suspended license is a serious problem. The primary purpose of an MVC hearing is to help you keep your driving privileges. If you are facing a license suspension, consult a skilled MVC attorney to represent you right away. Your attorney can explain your legal options and work to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
You can always call the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, at 856-310-9800, or reach out to us using our confidential contact page. We serve people facing DWIs and MVC hearings in Pleasantville, Haddonfield, and everywhere in South New Jersey, including Camden or Camden County.