In the state of New Jersey, it is illegal to drive with a suspended license. It is crucial to keep up with the renewal of your license because otherwise, you will find yourself facing penalties like fines and jail time. Breaking this New Jersey traffic law is often accidental. Often, drivers don’t even realize their license was suspended or thought they had taken the necessary measures to renew it. Working with an attorney is the best way to have your charges dropped or downgraded in court. An experienced attorney like Leon Matchin has years of experience dealing with cases regarding traffic law.
What’s the Law?
Driving with a suspended license is punishable under New Jersey traffic law section 39 § 3-40. The law states: “No person to whom a driver’s license has been refused or whose driver’s license or reciprocity privilege has been suspended or revoked, or who has been prohibited from obtaining a driver’s license, shall personally operate a motor vehicle during the period of refusal, suspension, revocation, or prohibition.”
Whether your license suspension was due to failure to pay a parking ticket or was based on a prior offense like a DUI, driving without a current driver’s license is illegal. When a police officer pulls you over or if you are in an accident, you generally have to show your driver’s license and vehicle registration. At this time, the officer can charge you with driving using a suspended license. You are likely facing another traffic violation (whatever the reason was the police pulled you over), so this charge can be a double whammy. Remember, don’t panic. Cooperate with the officers and contact an attorney ASAP.
Penalties & Consequences
The penalties for driving with a suspended driver’s license vary based on the offense. Penalties are more severe for subsequent offenses than they are for a first offense. Also, there are certain situations that lead to harsher consequences. The offenses include things like driving with a suspended license on school property or driving on a license suspended due to a previous DUI charge. Here are some of the consequences drivers face with suspended-license charges:
- First offense – Fine of $500
- Second offense – Fine of $750, imprisonment in county jail between one and five days.
- Third or subsequent offenses – Fine of $1,000, imprisonment in county jail for ten days
In addition to these punishments, the court will also further suspend the license for a period of up to six more months. Also, the driver will face additional jail time of up to 45 days if there was an accident and someone else sustained injuries.
Here are a few additional consequences that occur in certain circumstances.
- Suspension from DUI charge – If the license suspension was due to a DUI charge and they drive with that license, they will pay a $500 fine and go to jail between 10 and 90 days. The license suspension will extend for an additional 1-2 years.
- School property or school crossing – The penalties increase if you drove with a suspended license on school property. In addition, this happens if you were within 1,000 feet of school property or in a school crossing. In this case, you will owe a $500 fine and face between 60 and 180 days in jail (depending on whether it’s a first or subsequent offense). Also, your license will be suspended for an additional 1-2 years.
- Letting someone drive your vehicle with a suspended license – Did you know you can also face charges if you knowingly let someone drive your vehicle with a suspended license? In this case, you will owe a $1,000 fine and face up to 15 days in jail.
- Failure to pay parking judgment – If your license suspension is due to not paying a parking ticket, you will owe $100 after showing proof that you have paid the ticket.
Potential Defenses in Court
An experienced lawyer will study your case and come up with a defense to have charges entirely dropped. Otherwise, they can attempt having charges downgraded for lesser penalties. A common defense is that the driver was unaware of their license suspension. For example, maybe you didn’t realize that your license suspension was because you didn’t pay a parking ticket. Or perhaps you sent in payment, but for some reason, your license wasn’t reinstated.
Another defense could be that you needed to drive due to some sort of emergency. For example, a sick child, wife in labor, etc. If you had a previous charge like a DUI and license suspension, were you aware? Sometimes the judge is unclear about the details of the charge. In that case, the driver may not even realize their license was still suspended. Leon Matchin has years of experience defending clients who have violated traffic laws. He will find a defense that makes the most sense in your case and go from there!
New Jersey traffic law says it’s illegal to drive with a suspended license. Breaking this law means harsh consequences, including jail time, fines, and an extended period of license suspension. While your charge may seem overwhelming at first, don’t panic. Reach out to Leon Matchin, a local New Jersey attorney, for help. For more information about Leon Matchin and how he can help with your suspended driver’s license charge, contact him right away. You can reach him by phone at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected]. We will set up a free, no-obligation consultation to review your case and go over your options.