Admittedly, it’s not something you want to hear. You already know that you shouldn’t be driving with a suspended license. However, you had no idea it could land you in jail. The possibility could become your reality.
When you first lost your license, you did the right thing. You caught the bus on the corner to get to work. Sometimes waiting for the bus to show up at your stop proved fruitless. In fact, you once called NJ Transit to complain when the driver bypassed your stop.
After a while, your issues with transportation proved problematic. When you received a couple of late warnings from your supervisor, you decided you couldn’t risk losing your job. Without a regular income, you had no way of coming up with $1,000 for each of the next three years for insurance surcharges.
You’re still upset that you lost your license in the first place. However, as you understand it, the judge let you off with the minimal suspension requirement for a drunk driving conviction. It’s still too long as far as you’re concerned.
Driving with a Suspended License: A Bad Idea
At least, that’s how you justified the first time you got back behind the wheel. You were just weeks away from the end of the suspension period. Truth be told, you couldn’t wait until it was time to restore your license.
The great philosophers all speak about the importance of patience. As it relates to your own restraint, it no longer mattered. You’re certain your boss will no longer tolerate your habitual tardiness.
It’s daylight when you decide to take the family car to work. You figure you’ll drive carefully, and no one will realize that you’re driving without a license. For the next few days, you forgo the bus for the car. And, you almost get away with your failure to comply with the law.
At the end of your shift, your buddies ask you to join them at the local bar. You’re too embarrassed to admit you shouldn’t be driving at all. Your nightmare begins as you leave to go home, and you suddenly see and hear lights and sirens behind you.
The officer explains that he pulled you over because you coasted through a stop sign. You stammer as you’re asked for your credentials. Apparently, you smell of alcohol. You don’t feel drunk, but you’ve been here before.
The Law and Driving While Suspended
New Jersey law takes driving while suspended quite seriously. In fact, there are enhanced penalties if the court suspended your license for drunk driving or a breathalyzer refusal. You won’t just face additional fines or a more extended suspension period.
NJSA 39:3-40 provides some insight into what could happen if you’re caught driving while your license is suspended or revoked. Multiple offenses come with stricter penalties. At a minimum, a second offense can mean up to five days in county jail.
However, it becomes worse when the suspension came as a result of drunk driving. What was a motor vehicle offense, now becomes a criminal charge. According to NJSA 2C:40-26, you could be convicted of a crime of the fourth degree. If you lost your license for DWI and drove while suspended on more than one occasion, you face imprisonment for a minimum of 180 days.
If you are facing charges for driving while suspended, you should take the matter seriously. The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo provides consultation on these types of motor vehicle tickets. Come meet with us to learn how we can assist you.