Driving on a Suspended License in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey may suspend or revoke your license for many reasons. The state takes suspensions and revocations seriously and may fine you, sentence you to jail and suspend or revoke your license for an additional period of time if you drive when

The state of New Jersey may suspend or revoke your license for many reasons. The state takes suspensions and revocations seriously and may fine you, sentence you to jail and suspend or revoke your license for an additional period of time if you drive when you have lost your driving privileges.

Reasons for Suspension or Revocation

Your license may be suspended or revoked for an accumulation of traffic offenses, certain criminal convictions, or other reasons.

New Jersey operates a point system for driver’s licenses. The state assigns points to certain traffic offenses and may suspend your license if you accumulate a certain number of points. Suspension may follow if you accumulate:

  • 12 points within two years,
  • 15 points in a period greater than two years, or
  • between 12 and 15 points in a period greater than two years, unless you complete a driver improvement course. (N.J. Stat. § 39:5-30.8.)

Certain criminal convictions may also result in suspension or revocation. For example, your license may be suspended or revoked for between six months or two years for a drug conviction. (N.J. Stat. § 39:5-30.13.)

You may also lose your driving privileges if you are involved in a crash that kills or seriously injures someone and you were:

  • speeding greater than 20 mph over the limit,
  • driving under the influence, or
  • driving recklessly. (N.J. Stat. § 39:5-30.)

There are many other reasons, including alcohol-related offenses, that your license may be suspended.

Reinstating your License

The length of time your license is suspended or revoked may vary. After your period of suspension or revocation expires, you may have to pay a restoration fee, pay other fees, or complete other requirements before your license will be valid again. The restoration fee may be $100. (N.J. Stat. § 39:3-10a(23).)

Criminal Charges for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

If you are charged with driving during while your license is suspended or revoked, you could be fined or in some cases sentenced to jail.   In general:

  • For a first offense, you may be fined $500. (N.J. Stat. § 39:3-40(a).)
  • For a second offense, you may be fined $750 and given a jail sentence between one and five days. (N.J. Stat. § 39:3-40(b).)
  • For a third offense, you may be fined $1,000 and given a jail sentence of 10 days. (N.J. Stat. § 39:3-40(c).)

Your sentence may depend on the reason for your license suspension or revocation. For example:

  • If you are driving with a suspended or revoked license and you are involved in an accident that injures someone, you may be sentenced to between 45 days and 180 days in jail. (N.J. Stat. § 39:3-40(e).)
  • If your license was suspended or revoked due to driving while intoxicated, you may be sentenced to between 10 and 90 days in jail. (N.J. Stat. § 39:3-40(f)(1).)
  • If your license was suspended or revoked due to an insurance violation, you may be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. (N.J. Stat. § 39:3-40(f)(2).)

Penalties may be more severe if you are charged with driving while your license is suspended or revoked due to driving while intoxicated and you have already been convicted of driving on a suspended license while your license is suspended for that DWI. (N.J. Stat. § 2C:40-26(1)(a).) It may also be more severe if you are charged with driving while your license is suspended or revoked due to a second conviction for DWI. (N.J. Stat. § 2C:40-26(1)(a).) In these situations, you may be charged with a fourth-degree crime and may be incarcerated for a minimum of 180 days. (N.J. Stat. § 2C:40-26(c).)

For many convictions, your license may be suspended or revoked for an additional period of time. (N.J. Stat. § 39:3-40.)

Legal Help for Charges of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License

Consider hiring legal counsel if you are charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license. Depending on the circumstances, you may receive significant fines, jail time, and have your license suspended or revoked for an additional period of time. These consequences can affect your ability to obtain or retain insurance, can make it difficult to stay employed or in school, and can affect other areas of your life. While the law provides specific penalties for the crime, in reality your sentence will depend on the view of driving on a suspended license held by your community and your judge and prosecutor. An attorney who is familiar with these charges in your area will be able to provide you with individual advice on the strength of the charge and your possible sentence.

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