It goes without saying that having your driver’s license suspended can be incredibly inconvenient, but the penalties for driving with a suspended license are severe. They include fines, an extended suspension, and possible incarceration.
The penalties ultimately depend on whether this is your first or a subsequent offense. The first time you are convicted for driving with a suspended license, you will face a $500 fine, and six months will be added to your license suspension. For a second offense, the fine increases to $750, and there is a mandatory jail term of one to five days. For a third offense, the fine jumps to $1,000 and the maximum jail sentence increases to 10 days.
The penalties are worse if you are driving with a suspended license and you are involved in an accident that results in the injury or death of another person. Even if you were not found to be at fault, the minimum jail sentence in this situation would be 45 days.
If you are caught driving with a suspended license while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your suspension will be extended by one to two years, and you will face 10 to 90 days in jail.
There are no exceptions that would allow a person to drive with a license suspended license; however, you may be able to fight the charges by using the “notice” defense. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the MVC sent the proposed suspension notice and the actual suspension notice to your last known address, you cannot be convicted of driving with a suspended license.
To find out if the notice defense applies to your case, contact my office to discuss your situation. Call 973-453-2009 to schedule a consultation with a Newark traffic ticket attorney from the Law Office of Eric M. Mark.
How Will My Attorney Support the Notice Defense?
The burden of proving that the MVC sent the two required notices ultimately lies with the prosecutor. Your attorney will ask the prosecutor to produce the following:
- Notice of scheduled suspension;
- Proof of mailing notice;
- Order of suspension;
- Proof of mailing order; and
- The certified motor vehicle abstract.
If the prosecutor cannot provide all of these documents, which is often the case, you cannot be convicted of driving with a suspended license.
Importance of Paying Your Restoration Fee
Even if the term of your license suspension has ended, you cannot drive until you have paid the $100 restoration fee. If you do so, you could be charged with driving with a suspended license.
Whether or not you are convicted will depend on which case law is upheld by the court. In the case State v. Somma, 215 N.J. Super. 142 (Law. Div. 1986), the court held that failing to pay the restoration fee does not extend the suspension period; however, in the case State v. Zalta, 217 N.J. Super. 209 (App. Div. 1987), the court held that a suspension remains in effect until the driver has paid the restoration fee.
Even if you were in fact driving with a suspended license, you should never accept a conviction without investigating all potential defense options. It is very important that you consult an attorney who has successfully handled these cases.
As a former Assistant Prosecutor, I have unique skillset that makes me particularly effective as a moving violation lawyer in Newark. Call 973-453-2009 today to schedule a consultation.