Traffic Violations

The Penalties for Driving Without a License in New Jersey

When driving on New Jersey’s public roads, the law requires that motorists have a valid driver’s license. Without a license to operate a vehicle, drivers can pose a significant threat to themselves and others. New Jersey traffic laws treat unlicensed driving as a serious traffic violation. Driving without a license in New Jersey can lead to some hefty fines and potential jail time. If you face an unlicensed driving offense, it’s crucial that you contact your attorney as soon as possible to understand your charges and begin building your defense.

New Jersey License Laws

N.J.S.A 39:3-10 governs the New Jersey laws surrounding unlicensed driving. Under this statute, motorists are only allowed to operate vehicles on public roads if they have a valid driver’s license or are in the process of obtaining one. However, drivers in the process of obtaining a license must either have a probationary license or are practicing under the supervision of a driving course.

If you are pulled over and found to be driving without a valid license, you will be charged with a traffic violation. Also known as a violation of 39:3-10b, a citation for driving without a driver’s license is a serious offense. Without the right defense or course of action, drivers could face heavy fines and possible imprisonment.

The Penalties for Driving Without a License in New Jersey

Driving without a license almost always results in a hefty fine. Some drivers may also face jail time, depending on the situation. When a judge rules over your case, they’ll often consider a few different factors in determining your punishment. The main factors taken into consideration are your previous driving record and whether or not you face additional traffic violation charges.

If you have had a driver’s license in the past but it has since expired or been revoked, you could face fines up to $500 and up to 60 days in county jail. If you have never had a driver’s license before, you will face a minimum fine of $200, up to 60 days in county jail, and a minimum 180-day suspension on obtaining a license. You will also need to pay additional court costs and fees, no matter the situation.


Drivers who are convicted of a traffic violation often face additional problems with their insurance policies. Many drivers who are cited for unlicensed driving will find it difficult to secure a low-premium insurance plan. Even if you get your charges reduced or dropped, simply having an offense on record can often affect your insurance credibility. 

The fees and jail time associated with many traffic violation cases can severely impact your life. And if you face additional charges on top of driving without a license, you could be in for some harsh penalties. It’s crucial that you contact your attorney as soon as possible after being charged with a violation. The sooner you contact your lawyer, the better your odds are of securing lower penalties.

driving without a license in New Jersey

Photo by Orkun Azap on Unsplash

How a Lawyer Can Defend Your Case

Most traffic violation charges are about the threat of damage posed to motorists and pedestrians. When you have a valid driver’s license, you have proven to the state that you are a safe and capable driver. Driving without a license could indicate that you don’t understand the rules of the road or have the working knowledge needed to operate a vehicle safely. This can lead to some serious accidents that may result in injury or death. Your attorney can often build a defense in your case based on two major factors.

Previous Driver’s License Record

Having a valid driver’s license can often be a tricky thing to understand. For instance, an expired license or a foreign driving license can cause an unlicensed driving charge. While these situations violate legal license requirements, there is still a possible defense. Your attorney can argue that you did have a valid license at one point, proving that you understand the rules of the road and did not pose a significant threat to others. While this defense may not drop your charges entirely, it can often help reduce the penalties you may face.

Emergency Driving Situations

Another strong defense for unlicensed driving is driving during an emergency situation. If an unlicensed driver needs to operate a vehicle on public roads due to an emergency, there is often leniency in their case. For example, if a teen was driving their parent to the hospital due to a serious injury, they may have more consideration for their unlicensed driving. In most traffic violation cases, the reasoning behind the violation is often a strong defender for reduced penalties.

Regardless of your driving record or the situation behind your case, working with a traffic violation attorney can significantly help. Your attorney can help you understand the specific charges you face and what angle of defense is best. Even if there is no way to reduce or drop your charges, your lawyer will still help defend your rights and guide you through the court process. 

Facing Charges of Driving Without a License in New Jersey?

If you face a traffic violation charge, Attorney Leon Matchin is here to help. As a trained and experienced traffic lawyer, Attorney Matchin has dedicated his practice to defending his clients in court. If you face charges for driving without a license in New Jersey, contact Attorney Matchin at 833-732-7320 or to schedule a consultation about your case. The sooner you seek legal representation, the more success you can have in reducing your penalties.

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