Tom Chaves Law Discusses Driving with a Revoked or Suspended License
If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, one of the most severe punishments you could face is the loss of your right to operate a motor vehicle. This could affect your ability to go to work, earn money to care for your family, or otherwise live life as you know it. For a first offense, someone convicted of DWI can have their license suspended for either 3 months or 7 to 12 months, depending on his or her blood alcohol content. For a second offense, a driver’s license is taken away for 2 years or longer. On a third or subsequent offense, a driver convicted of DWI will lose his or her driving privileges for 10 years or longer.
Unfortunately, New Jersey does not make exceptions for drivers on the revoked or suspended license list – no temporary, provisional or “work” licenses. Although you may have lost your license for many reasons, if your license has been revoked, the law says you cannot operate a motor vehicle in New Jersey during the period of your suspension for any reason or else you will be facing even greater consequences.
If Your License Was Suspended Due to a Previous DWI/DUI
N.J.S.A 39:3-40 covers a large number of issues dealing with what happens if you are caught driving with a suspended or revoked license. The reason your license is suspended was for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or for refusing to take a breathalyzer test, then you will be subject to increased sentencing when you are caught driving while on the revoked list. If you have only had one previous DUI and this is your first conviction for driving with a suspended license, you can still face an additional fine of $500, additional loss of driving privileges between one and two years on top of your current period of suspension, and an additional jail term from 10 to 90 days.
Driving on the revoked list can also be a felony under certain circumstances. N.J.S.A 2C:40-26, states as follows:
2C:40-26 Operating motor vehicle during period of license suspension, fourth degree crime.
a. It shall be a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension in violation of R.S.39:3-40, if the actors license was suspended or revoked for a first violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a) and the actor had previously been convicted of violating R.S.39:3-40 while under suspension for that first offense. A person convicted of an offense under this subsection shall be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment.
b. It shall be a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension in violation of R.S.39:3-40, if the actor’s license was suspended or revoked for a second or subsequent violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a). A person convicted of an offense under this subsection shall be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment.
c. Notwithstanding the term of imprisonment provided under N.J.S.2C:43-6 and the provisions of subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-1, if a person is convicted of a crime under this section the sentence imposed shall include a fixed minimum sentence of not less than 180 days during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.
What this means is that if you are caught driving with a suspended license, and the reason you are under suspension is for a second drunk driving offense or if this is your second time driving with a suspended license as the result of a DUI/DWI, then you will be charged with a fourth degree crime for which you can be indicted and tried in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Criminal Division, and if you are found guilty you must serve at least 180 days in the County Jail without parole as well as other penalties listed in other sections of the law. This is a minimum and you can face up to a maximum of 18 months of incarceration in state prison.
New Jersey License Suspension Law and Why You Should Get an Attorney
The laws against driving on the revoked list are very confusing, even for the judges and attorneys who deal with DUI/DWI questions every day. The penalties you could be facing will be different depending on how many times you have had your license suspended, the reasons why your license was suspended, as well as a number of other factors, such as if you are caught while driving in a school zone or while breaking another law.
There are three main reasons why sentencing issues are not straight-forward. First, the law that covers driving on the revoked list is not clear and someone convicted with breaking the law may have access to different alternative punishments in certain situations – and sometimes these alternatives are in conflict with each other. Second, the opinions written by judges of the various State Courts have not always agreed with each other, and new laws can sometimes make old cases no longer applicable. Finally, the law is not clear on what the consequences are if multiple sentencing enhancements can apply to the same driver.
For these reasons, it is extremely important that you talk to an experienced DUI/DWI attorney if you or someone you know is charged with driving with a suspended license, because an experienced lawyer who knows this area of law can give you the advice you need and provide you with the best defense if your case goes to court.
Have You Been Charged with Driving on a Suspended License? New Jersey DWI/DUI Lawyer Tom Chaves Can Help
The laws dealing with DUI, DWI, and driving with a suspended or revoked license can be very confusing. An experienced attorney will be able to sit down with you, review your case, and explain your specific situation. If your case goes to court, an experienced lawyer will also be able to help defend you or have the charges against you dismissed completely. For a free consultation, call us at 908-256-3039 or contact us online today at www.tomchaveslaw.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We represent individuals with criminal charges and serious motor vehicle violations like driving on the revoked list in Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County and Union County.