In New Jersey, driving is a privilege, not a right. Although driving is a necessity for many schools, jobs, and family responsibilities, drivers must earn the right to be on the road and can have that right taken away. A successful DUI charge can lead to license suspension. Driver license restoration in NJ is possible, but it requires a few steps to follow and additional charges.
How Long Can a DUI Suspension Last?
Getting charged and convicted of a DUI will often lead to a license suspension. However, the suspension can be lifted with the proper installation of an ignition interlock device. Even after the official suspension period is over, drivers are required to have the ignition interlock installed for a set period of time. How long you need the ignition interlock installed will depend on your previous driving record and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the charge.
For first-time offenders, the license suspension period typically only lasts as long as it takes the driver to install the ignition interlock device. Once installed, the device needs to remain installed for a certain period to ensure there are no future DUI incidents. For offenders who had a BAC under .10%, the required installation typically runs for three months. For drivers with a BAC between .10% and .15%, the required installation typically runs between seven months and a year.
If a driver had a BAC over .15%, they must comply with a full license suspension between four and six months, based on the judge’s ruling. After serving this time, a driver may then reinstate their license with the installation of an ignition interlock device. The device must remain installed for a period between nine months and 15 months.
For drivers who already had a DUI conviction, the suspension periods are much more extreme. The driver will suffer a license suspension period between one and two years, as ruled by a judge. The driver may then reinstate their license with the installation of an ignition interlock device. The device must remain installed for two to four years after the suspension period is over.
Third and Subsequent Offenses
Once a driver reaches their third offense, they will face a license suspension period of eight years. Once the suspension period is over, an ignition interlock device must remain installed in their vehicle for two to four years if they wish to reinstate their driving privileges.
A conviction for a DUI can severely impact your driving record and associated penalties. But there are other license suspensions you can face when charged with a DUI. For example, refusal to take a breathalyzer test can result in a license suspension between seven months and 20 years. Additionally, once your license is reinstated, traffic violations become more severe. Breaking a NJ traffic law can result in an additional license suspension of up to 90 days.
Ignition Interlock Specifics
Although driving is a privilege, most judges understand the necessity of driving to provide financial stability and assistance. This is why New Jersey law allows first-time offenders to reinstate their driver’s license with the installation of an ignition interlock device. This device requires the driver to take a breathalyzer test to prove sobriety before the car will start. The device requires professional installation and regular maintenance, all of which the driver is expected to pay for. Refusal to install the device or using a vehicle that does not have one installed can result in further license suspension and additional financial penalties.
How to Reinstate a License After a DUI Charge
Once the suspension period is over and an ignition interlock device is installed, drivers can reinstate their license at the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). A license will not automatically be reinstated just because the suspension period is up or your device installed. To reinstate your license, you’ll need to take your documents and proof of fee payments to the MVC and file the appropriate paperwork. You will not be able to restore your license if you have a balance on your account, so all fees associated with your charge and suspension must be paid off before you can restore your driving privileges.
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Getting your license reinstated requires proof that your suspension period is over, all fines have been paid off, and an ignition interlock device is installed on your registered vehicle. Without the proper supporting documents, your license renewal can take longer while the MVC checks all of your accounts and charges. You may not even be able to reinstate your license at all without the proper documentation. Documentation that can help you reinstate your license includes:
- Original court charge
- MVC notice about suspension ending (usually mailed out a few weeks before your suspension period is over)
- Paperwork and receipts from the installation of the ignition interlock device
- Bank statements and payment receipts
- MVC account information
Working with an experienced DUI attorney can help ensure you have everything you need to successfully and quickly get your license restored.
Driver License Reinstatement Cost
Even after paying all of the fees associated with your DUI charge and suspension, you’ll still have an additional payment to make to get your license reinstated. If your license did not expire during your suspension period, you’ll have to pay an additional $100 to restore your license. You can make this payment online or in person. Just remember that until your payment is processed, your license is still suspended. If you intend to pay the fine in person, you’ll need to find a ride, as driving with a suspended license is still illegal even if the suspension period is over.
Did your license happen to expire during your suspension period? You’d have to pay the renewal fee and go through the regular license renewal process. This includes an additional fee of $24. It often requires drivers to fill out and bring their paperwork to the MVC to properly have their license renewed.
Assistance for Driver License Restoration in NJ
Getting driver license restoration in NJ can be a complicated process. If you don’t have all the supporting documents you need, you may not be able to get your driving privileges back. Attorney Leon Matchin can help. With his years of experience dealing with NJ traffic law, he can help you get your license restored. Facing? DUI charges? Seeking a limited driving license during your suspension? Ready to reinstate your license? He can help. Call today at 732-887-2479 or email him at [email protected] to schedule a consultation about your case. Learn how he can help you get your driving privileges reinstated.