Tag Archives: dui

When is Driving While Suspended a Criminal Offense?

If you have been convicted of DUI/DWI and drive while your license is suspended you can be convicted of a crime and sent to jail for a period between 6 months without parole and eighteen months. On March 3rd, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court decided a case that has the potential to affect a lot of people.

State v. Perry

According to the decision in State v. Perry, if the DWI suspension period has already expired prior to the defendant being charged with driving while on a suspended license, it is not considered a criminal offense.  The statute in question, 2C-40-26, says:

“It shall be a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension in violation of R.S.39:3-40... A person convicted of an offense under this subsection shall be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment.”

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs carries consequences such as, fines, imprisonment, or the loss of your driving privileges. In the State of New Jersey, there is a mandatory license suspension if convicted of a DWI/DUI or refusal to submit a chemical test. The length of time an offender’s license is suspended varies depending on how high the driver’s blood alcohol content was at the time of the arrest and whether this was the first offense. After the suspension period has expired, NJ drivers are required to pay a restoration fee to reinstate their license.

Driving While Suspended in NJ

Every day, police officers stop scores of New Jersey motorists only to find out that they have been driving with a suspended license. Those charged with driving with a suspended license are subject to fines, loss of driving privileges for an additional period of time, and possible imprisonment. However, suspensions arising from certain violations, including a DWI conviction, suffer more severe punishments. A first offense will result in a fine up to $500. Any subsequent violations during the same suspension term will be charged as a fourth degree crime, which is punishable by a mandatory jail term of 180 days, a loss of license between one to two years, and over $1,000 worth of fines.

Penalties for a driving while suspended charge can be severe and the knowledge and expertise of a qualified defense attorney are required. The law office of Mark A. Schneider, Esquire can help you negotiate lower penalties or try to get the charges dismissed altogether. Contact me today at (609) 242-9337 to review your driving while suspended case.