Well, it happened. Your driver’s license has been suspended. Perhaps you finally got that ticket you were hoping to avoid. Maybe you were caught in that short period when you didn’t have automobile insurance. Or maybe it was just something as simple as not getting around to paying a few traffic tickets. If you’re facing a suspension of your license, hiring a lawyer is probably a good idea. There are, however, some things you should know before hiring a driver’s license suspension lawyer in NJ.
Why was my license suspended?
There are several factors you should know to determine whether you should hire a driver’s license suspension lawyer in NJ. First, of course, are the grounds upon which your driving privileges can be suspended or revoked:
- Exceeding the maximum number of points that can be accumulated against your license. Like most states, New Jersey assesses points for moving violations. If you exceed 12 points on your driving record, your license will be suspended.
- Operation of a motor vehicle without insurance. Not surprisingly, driving a car that is not properly insured (or even failing to provide proof of insurance) will likely yield suspension of your license.
- As any driver’s license suspension lawyer in NJ can tell you, an offense for DWI or DUI will lead to a suspended license.
- Motor vehicle operator unfit to drive due to physical or psychological reasons. If you are ordered by the MVC to submit to a re-examination to determine your fitness to drive, you should probably not do so before seeking the advice of a driver’s license suspension lawyer in NJ.
- Driving with a suspended/no license. Doing so will lead to a longer suspension and may, depending on your particular circumstances, result in a prison term.
- Reckless driving.
- Abandonment of your vehicle on a public highway.
- If you are legally determined to be at fault for a fatal accident.
There are also grounds for suspension of your license that are unrelated to driving your vehicle. These include:
- Failure to reply to a Motor Vehicle Commission Notice.
- Failure to appear in court for a traffic-related matter.
- Failure to pay traffic tickets or fines.
- Failure to pay child support.
What penalties could I be facing?
If you rely on driving to get to work, to engage in social or extracurricular activities, attend classes or transport your children, suspension of your license can and probably will significantly impact your life. However, depending on the reason for it, a suspension of your license may actually end up being the least of your worries and a driver’s license suspension lawyer in NJ may be all that stands between you and even worse punishment.
Here are some of the additional penalties New Jersey can impose for offenses associated with the suspension or revocation of the privilege to drive in this state (severity may depend on whether there are prior convictions for driving under suspension):
- If your license has been suspended 3 times during a 3 year period, you may lose your license for up to 3 years.
- Driving while under suspension can result in a prison sentence.
- If you accumulate at least 6 points in a 3 year period, a surcharge will be assessed against you and your insurance premiums may also increase.
- If you accumulate at least 12 points in a 3 year period, your license will be suspended and you can definitely count on higher insurance rates.
Unfortunately, that’s not all. Accumulation of additional points will result in further suspension in accordance with the following schedule:
- 1st offense within 6 months: Suspension of 90 days
- 1st offense within 7-9 months: Suspension of 60 days
- 1st offense within 12 months: Suspension of 45 days.
The duration of your suspension increases if there is a second offense.
- 2nd offense within 6 months: Suspension of 180 days
- 2nd offense within 7-9 months: Suspension of 120 days
- 2nd offense within 12 months: Suspension of 90 days.
A lawyer is your best option.
Clearly any offense that may result in suspension or revocation of your driving privileges should not be taken lightly. In fact, you’re taking a substantial risk if you attempt to navigate the legal landscape without the services of a driver’s license suspension lawyer in NJ. An attorney experienced in this area can help you mount the defense you will need to successfully reduce the severity of the penalties you’re facing, if not eliminate them completely.
Even if you’re not acquitted of whatever charge you’re facing, your driver’s license suspension lawyer in NJ may be able to achieve an outcome more palatable than the maximum. For example, if you are assessed between 12 and 14 points on your driving record in over 2 years you may be able to participate in a Driver Improvement Program (DIP) or Point & Insurance Reduction Course (PRIP) as a substitute for a 30 day license suspension. The defense mounted against a charge of DWI/DUI may be the difference between a short and long suspension or even a prison sentence.
When you combine the complexity of this area of law with what’s at stake, hiring a driver’s license suspension lawyer in NJ may be the wisest thing you can do to minimize disruption to your daily life.