New Jersey law makes it illegal to drive a motor vehicle without a license, and the penalties can be steep. If you are convicted of driving without a license, you may face a fine of up to $500 or jail time of up to 60 days. In , the penalties for driving without a license if you have never had driving privileges are actually more lenient than if you are charged with driving with a suspended license, although legislation has been introduced that would change this.
Driving with a suspended license can be even more serious. There are many reasons a driver may have their license revoked or suspended, including accumulating 12 license points, a municipal court order, a DWI charge, or failure to pay surcharges. New Jersey does not have any provisional or work licenses that allow drivers to lawfully drive with a suspended license, unlike many other states.
There may even be "enhanced" penalties for drivers who had their license suspended following a refusal conviction, DWI conviction, or those who are habitual offenders. Penalties are also more serious if you are facing a second or third offense. For a second offense, the fine is increased to $750, along with mandatory jail time of 1-5 days and an extension of your suspension. A third offense may come with a $1,000 fine and a mandatory sentence of 10 days in jail.
Experienced New Jersey traffic attorney Mark Bernstein can help you craft your defense and fight to reinstate your driving privileges. To prove that someone is guilty of driving with a suspended license, the prosecutor must show that the driver was actually driving the vehicle and that the driver operated the vehicle with a suspended license.
In many cases, prosecutors are overwhelmed and proceed without the proof necessary to convict. For example, many prosecutors fail to obtain suspension papers and proof of mailing from the DMV. Sometimes the police officer will fail to appear for court, in which case the prosecutor cannot prove the driver was operating the vehicle. It is also possible to contest the charge by arguing the underlying suspension was invalid.
You may also have a valid defense if you were driving because of an actual emergency, such as an injury to yourself or a family member.
Driving with a suspended license can have very serious repercussions. Along with high fines and possible jail time, you may be unable to maintain car insurance. An experienced traffic defense lawyer can help you fight your charges, potentially getting your case dismissed or the penalties reduced. Mark A. Bernstein has more than 17 years of experience representing clients who face DWI and driving without a license charges. Let us put our experience to work defending you.
If you or a family member has been charged with driving without a license or driving with a suspended license, contact the Law Office of Mark A. Bernstein today to discuss a defense strategy and protect your rights. Our law office will work with you, the prosecutor, and the judge in an attempt to reduce the charges or have your case dismissed. Contact us today at (609) 665-3338 for a free consultation.