How to Restore a Suspended Driver’s License in New Jersey
What should you do after your New Jersey driver’s license is suspended for DUI? Is there any way to apply for a temporary license while the suspension is in effect? What are the consequences of driving with a suspended license? Our New Jersey DWI defense attorneys answer your questions.
Common Reasons for License Suspension
A New Jersey driver’s license can be suspended or have its suspension period extended for plenty of reasons, many of which relate to intoxicated driving or criminal charges. Some of the more common reasons for license suspensions in New Jersey include:
- Being convicted of DUI (Driving Under the Influence).
- Accumulating at least 12 points on your record because of traffic violations.
- Failing to appear for a scheduled hearing or other court date. (Even more importantly, the judge could even issue a bench warrant for your arrest.)
- Driving with a suspended license.
- Reckless driving.
Regardless of the original reason why your license was suspended, you will need to take certain steps in order to see your driving privileges restored.
Steps to Restoring a Suspended NJ Driver’s License
Some states offer temporary “bread and butter” licenses which allow drivers to perform basic tasks like commuting to work and going to school. Unfortunately, New Jersey is not one of them. If your license has been suspended in the state of New Jersey, you must wait until your suspension period ends before you are eligible to drive again, and cannot apply for a temporary license. Therefore, it is critically important to work with an experienced Trenton DUI lawyer who may be able to reduce your suspension terms.
In New Jersey, the suspension penalties for DWI depend on factors like your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), how many offenses you already have on your record, and whether or not there were any aggravating factors. For example, a first offense with a BAC up to 0.10% can result in a three-month suspension; but a first offense with a BAC of 0.10% or greater can result in a suspension of up to one year. Aggravating factors that can make sentencing harsher include:
- Causing an accident, death, severe property damage, or an injury.
- Whether you were also driving recklessly. Reckless driving is a serious traffic violation under N.J.S.A. 39:4-96, and can involve anything from weaving between lanes to excessive speeding so long as the offender was driving “in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property.”
- Driving with a minor passenger present in the vehicle.
- Committing DUI in a school zone.
- Being uncooperative with the arresting officer. While you should maintain your right to remain silent and speak to an attorney immediately, you should also be respectful and courteous when interacting with police. If you lie to, fight with, or attempt to flee from law enforcement, it will reflect negatively on your entire case.
Once the period of suspension is over, your license will not be automatically restored. Before you officially regain your driving privileges, you will need to pay the $100 restoration fee to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). There are four ways to pay:
- In person, at an MVC Agency with walk-in services.
- In person, at your local Regional Service Center.
- Online by debit card, though an additional processing fee will apply.
- By check or money order mailed to the below address:
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 140
Trenton, NJ 08650-0140
What Are the Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License?
If you attempt to drive with a suspended license, you can be charged with “driving while suspended” pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:3-40. This can lead to a $500 fine, $750 in DMV surcharges, and yet another six months of suspension — and that’s only for a first offense. If you’re charged with driving while suspended a second time, the penalties increase to a fine of $750 (plus the $750 DMV charge), another six months of suspension, and up to five days in jail. It will only make your legal situation worse, and is simply not worth taking the risk.
If you’ve been charged with intoxicated driving in New Jersey, the experienced DUI lawyers of Young, Marr & Associates can help. To set up a free and confidential case evaluation, call (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania today.