It’s a pretty shocking scenario to be pulled over for a routine traffic stop and the police officer hits you with a driving while suspended ticket. Driving while your license is suspended in New Jersey is a serious matter and carries severe penalties, including a minimum of $500 in fines and surcharges and license suspension (see below). One of the most important steps you can take to resolve this matter is to contact an experienced traffic defense attorney to resolve your issue. Often an attorney can negotiate a reduction with the prosecutor to an offense that will carry lower fines and no license suspension.
What Reasons Can My License Be Suspended In New Jersey?
There are many different reasons why your license can be suspended in New Jersey. It’s important that you keep accurate contact information with the State of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission so that you can be notified if your license has been suspended. Here are some of the main reasons why a driver’s license can be suspended in New Jersey:
- Physical or mental disqualification
- Drug or alcohol use while driving
- Reckless driving
- Vehicle abandonment on a public highway
- Fault in a fatal accident
- If you receive 12 or more points on your current driver record
- Failure to appear in court or to pay fines
- Failure to pay surcharges
- Failure to provide proof of insurance
What Is The Law With Respect To Driving With A Suspended License?
Under N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 it is illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle after their license has been suspended or whose ability to obtain a valid driver’s license has been prohibited by law. One of the first issues to address is why your driving privileges are suspended. There are two types of possible license suspension, either a court imposed suspension or an administrative suspension generally issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Finding out the source of the suspension will determine the types of penalties you will be facing.
What If I Never Received A Notice For My License Being Suspended?
In New Jersey there is a requirement that a notice be sent to the address on record with the Department of Motor Vehicles before any suspension hearing takes place or a driver’s license is suspended in New Jersey. Generally, if your license was suspended due to an unpaid ticket you should sit down with an attorney to discuss the possible outcomes in your cases along with possible defenses. An attorney can direct you on what steps to take to get the suspension lifted, so that your case can be heard. If your driving privileges have been suspended, you will need to pay a restoration fee of $100. If the judge did not take your license in court, you must surrender it at any Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Regional Service Center or a local MVC Agency offering walk-in service.
What Are The Fines And Penalties For Driving While Suspended?
Convictions for driving while suspended do not add moving violation points against your New Jersey driving record. They do however add insurance points which can result in steep increases to your insurance premiums.
On a first offense of driving while suspended the fine is $500 and a $250 surcharge, insurance points and a driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months. A second offense results in a $750 fine and a $250 surcharge, insurance points and jail of 1-5 days, with a license suspension of 6 months. A third offense results in a $1,000 fine and a $250 surcharge, with 9 insurance points and possible jail time of 10 days.