Even though driving on a suspended or revoked license is considered a traffic offense, it can have serious criminal and personal consequences. If you have been charged with this offense it is important to speak with an attorney. Driving with a revoked or suspended license is taken seriously in New Jersey and you may face hefty fines, possible jail time, and loss of driving privileges. These penalties can result in severe consequences and hardship such as losing your job and being unable to obtain a new one. If you have been charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, speak with an attorney at our firm who can answer any questions you may have.
N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 states, "no person to whom a driver's license has been refused suspended or revoked, or who has been prohibited from obtaining a driver's license, shall personally operate a motor vehicle."
Furthermore, no person whose motor vehicle registration has been revoked shall operate or permit the operation of such motor vehicle during the period of such revocation.
The penalties stemming from a driving with a suspended or revoked driver's license vary and can be complicated. The breakdown is as follows:
For a first time offense the fine is $500 and usually no jail time.
For a second conviction, the fine is $750 and there is a mandatory county jail sentence for a minimum of one day with a maximum of five days. If the second offense occurs within 5 years of the first conviction then the individual's registration privileges will also be revoked.
For a third conviction, the fine is $1,000.00. Upon conviction, the individual will also serve up to 10 days in county jail. If the motor vehicle violation involved an additional offense for which points are assessed (for example, speeding), then the period of imprisonment must be ten days longer than any term of imprisonment imposed for a previous violation of this offense.
For all convictions, there is a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission fee for a special assessment of $250 per year for each of the following three years. In addition, the judge has the discretion to extend the period of suspension for up to six additional months.
If an individual, driving with a suspended license, causes an accident and injures someone other than himself or herself, the judge is required to sentence the driver to a period of imprisonment even for first time offenders. The minimum sentence is 45 days but can be up to 180 days. For purposes of this statute, "injury" is interpreted very broadly and even an insignificant superficial injury triggers this sentence. It is also important to keep in mind that the accident does not have to be the fault of the person with a suspended license. The accident that caused this injury need not have even been the fault of the person whose license was suspended/revoked.
Just because you have been charged with this offense does not mean there are not possible defenses. It may be possible that you moved and the Motor Vehicle Commission was not aware of your address change. Or perhaps your license has been suspended or revoked due to other financial obligations such as unpaid child support, fees, or fines. An experienced criminal defense attorney can address the appropriate measures to take when you are facing the revocation or suspension of your driver's license. Call for a free consultation at LS&P Lawyers to discuss your case.