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39:3-40 Driving While Suspended in New Jersey

Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents individuals charged with criminal and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey.

39:3-40 Driving on a Suspended License in New Jersey.

Thousands of motorists in New Jersey are stopped for routine traffic violations then are surprised to be informed their license is suspended. Where the minimum costs would be over $1,261 in fines, surcharge and costs, motorists should be certain not to allow their license to become suspended. If charged, motorists may need an attorney with knowledge and skill in handling driving while suspended matters.

The violation of Driving While Suspended is set forth at NJSA 39:3-40. This section states, no person to whom a drivers license has been refused or whose drivers license or reciprocity privilege has been suspended or revoked or who has been prohibited from obtaining a drivers license, shall personally operate a motor vehicle during the period of refusal suspension, revocation or prohibition. The statute also prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle whose registration has been revoked.

PENALTIES

Conviction under this statute brings the following penalties. Upon conviction of the first offense of fine of $500.00. The defendant will also be surcharged a mandatory $250.00 per year for 3 years in every DWS by the DMV. Upon conviction for the second offense a fine of $750.00 and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 5 days. Upon conviction for the third offense a fine of $1000.00 and imprisonment in the county jail for 10 days. Additionally, the statute states, upon the conviction the court shall impose or extend a period of suspension not to exceed 6 months. Also, upon conviction the court shall impose a period of imprisonment for not less than 45 days, if while operating a vehicle in violation of this section a person is involved in an accident resulting in personal injury to another person.

If an individual violates this section while under suspension issued pursuant to 39:4-50, driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs and is convicted, they shall be fined $500.00 extra? and have their license suspended for an additional period not less than one year nor more than two years and may be in the county jail for not more than 90 days. The defendant will also be surcharged a mandatory $250.00 per year for 3 years.

Although most municipal court matters are considered minor by many citizens it is obvious from the possible penalties involved that this is a serious offense carrying the possibility of both stiff fines and incarceration.

There are two types of license suspension :

1. Court imposed suspension

2. Administrative / Division of Motor Vehicles suspension

The most common scenario reflects where that the driver, through a motor vehicle violation, failure to pay surcharge or a accumulated points has been placed on a suspended list maintained by the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles (Division of Motor Vehicles), thereby making them ineligible to operate a motor vehicle for a prescribed period of time in this state.

If the driver is aware that they are on the suspended list and acknowledged they were suspended to the police officer there is little room for defense However, more often than not the driver claims that they were unaware of their placement on the suspension list.

The scenario that will often be presented by the driver is that he/she was stopped by police for an unrelated motor vehicle violation. In the process of the police encounter they were informed by the officer that their license has been suspended and they were issued an additional summons for Driving While Suspended. Over the past decade several New Jersey cases have crafted the current position on the driving while suspended issue that often confronts many municipal courts throughout the state.

THE STATE MUST SHOW DUE PROCESS AND ADEQUATE NOTICE

The first and foremost is that of adequate notice of the suspension. In Parsekian v. Cresse, 75 N.J. Super. 405 (App Div. 1962), the court ruled that it was incumbent upon the Director of the State Division of Motor Vehicles to provide fair and adequate notice to the licensed driver of the proposed suspension of their license. The court recognized that the Director could not arbitrarily suspend the license of a driver without providing both notice and enunciating specific reasons as to why the license was being suspended.

A later case, State v. Wenof, 102 N.J. Super. (Law Div. 1968), both reinforced and advanced the earlier Parsekian decision. Wenof represents the substantive foundation upon which all subsequent cases involving the notice issue have been based. In Wenof, the court again recognized the importance of adequate notice of suspension. The court related, there is always a risk that notice may not reach the intended person, but this is not the test for legal sufficiency. The test is rather, whether the notice was reasonably calculated to reach the intended parties. Id at 375. In Wenof, the Division of Motor Vehicles sent to a written notice of proposed suspension (for failure to satisfy a summons) by regular mail. The Division of Motor Vehicles thereafter sent an order of suspension by ordinary mail. The notices were mailed to the defendants last address. By failing to leave a forwarding address informing the Division of Motor Vehicles where he could be reached by mail, the court stated he should not be heard to complain of lack of due process He had it. The court found the defendant guilty.

In State v. Hammond 116 N.J. Super. 244 (Cty. Ct. 1971) a notice of scheduled suspension and order of suspension for failure to appear for motor vehicle violations was mailed to defendant, but was returned undelivered to Division of Motor Vehicles by postal authorities. The defendant was charged with misstatement of fact in an application for registration of a motor vehicle (39:3-37) and application for a registration certificate during suspension (39:3-34). The defendant thereafter applied for and obtained a New Jersey registration certificate for vehicle.

While in State v. Wenof supra the defendant was found guilty that case was distinguished in Ha mmond. In Hammond there was insufficient evidence of any notice to Hammond of a possible revocation of his registration certificate. Therefore, there is no adequate proof to indicate that due process was satisfied in this case. Hammond, 116 N.J. Super. at 248.

NOTICE BY IN-COURT SUSPENSION

If the driver is on the suspension list because he was suspended in a Courtroom for a prior violation, grounds to defend are very limited. The most common violations which carry mandatory suspensions on first offense by the Municipal Courts are for driving while intoxicated (first offense 6-12 months), driving while suspended (up to 6 months), driving without insurance (1 year), possession of Marijuana or paraphernalia (6 months-2 years). A Municipal Court also has the power to suspend a drivers license for driving while suspended, reckless driving, excessive speeding, leaving the scene of an accident or even where the judge finds a person guilty of such a willful violation of the subtitle as shall in the courts discretion, justify such revocation (39:5-31).

If the drivers license was suspended by a court, the state in a subsequent Driving While Suspended needs to introduce into evidence only a certified abstract from the Division of Motor Vehicles. It is not necessary for the state to demonstrate that notice was received by the defendant. The defense may still challenge the suspension by introducing evidence that the prior in-court suspension was improper. Examples include defendant not notified to be in court and the court then acting without the defendant being present. Possibly, the prior suspension could be attached in the original court as being illegal and/or unconstitutional. This is permitted under State v. Laurick. 120 NJ 1 (1990)

NOTICE BY Division of Motor Vehicles

Where the driver was suspended by the Division of Motor Vehicles, the state must introduce

  1. Notice of scheduled suspension.
  2. Proof of mailing notice.
  3. Order of suspension.
  4. Proof of mailing order.
  5. Certified motor vehicle abstract.

A certified abstract alone is not sufficient to convict if the defendant was suspended only by the Division of Motor Vehicles.

If the order of suspension was mailed on December 1, 1991 and the Driving While Suspended offense took place December 2, 1991, a good defense is that the Order did not reach his house until after the ticket for Driving While Suspended.

Many suspensions today are because people forgot to pay an insurance surcharge. Every insurance surcharge bill serves as a notice of suspension. Indigency is not a defense for failure to pay a surcharge.

DEFENSES

A valid suspension of a drivers license cannot be effectuated in the absence of a written notice to the license at his last known address, reciting the fact that the suspension will take place and the date of commencement of the suspension. State v. Kindler 191 N.J. Super. 358,360 (Law Div 1983). Failure to appear for a summons is not a substitute for the written notice required by the statute, Id at 361. The court also noted that its research does not statutory revealing authority for the Municipal Judge to suspend driving privileges. Id at 362

Motorists suspended for any reason remains suspended until they pay a $50.00 Division of Motor Vehicles restoration fee. According to the harsh decision in State v. Zalta 217 N.J. Super. 142 (Law Div. 1987) even if a prior court imposed suspension is over 6 months on DWI, the suspension continues until actual restoration of the license.

Plea bargaining is permitted in Driving While Suspended matters. Many court adhere to the language of State v. Somma 215 N.J. Super. 142 (Law Div 1986) where the court determined that the failure to pay the $50.00 fee for restoration of the suspended drivers license does not extend the period of suspension. Many times individuals are told by a court their license is suspended for a certain number of months, but they are usually not told they must pay a restoration fee to actually get their license back. Individuals who pay a surcharge late will have their licenses suspended initially for the failure to pay. Even after the surcharge is paid they remain suspended until the $30.00 restoration fee is paid. Often, plea bargaining or alternative dispositions can be worked out to avoid the harsh consequences of Driving While Suspended and the equitable rationale of State v. Somma is followed.

Few courts inform a driver charged with Driving While Suspended that the penalty is anything more than a $500.00 fine plus up to six months loss of license. Most courts do not warn a defendant if he pleads guilty he will have to pay Division of Motor Vehicles insurance surcharges or face other new penalties.

Few drivers are aware of the new provisions of NJAC 11:3-34, operative date April 1, 1991, which allows insurance companies to charge additional surcharge to drivers. These new insurance company surcharges are in a addition to Division of Motor Vehicles surcharges and fines. Several non MTF insurance companies have already received approval to charge between $37.00 and $218.00 for each point a driver accumulates. For Driving While Suspended pursuant to 2C N.J.R. 576 a driver is given 9 Automobile Eligibility Points.

Hundreds of drivers in 1992 with be in for a rude awakening when they discover they were dropped by their personal carrier, sent to the MTF and have to pay substantial additional carrier surcharges on top of Division of Motor Vehicles surcharges.

Given the difficult economic times and high cost of insurance, many drivers simply cant afford to both drive to work and pay for insurance. These drivers will often get caught driving without insurance. The mandatory suspension for this violation will be putting hundreds of drivers on the ever increasing suspension list.

PARKING ADJUDICATION ACT OFFENDER

Scofflaws who took their parking tickets and threw them away or forgot to pay tickets will now have these licenses eventually suspended under the Parking Offense Adjudication Act. (NJSA 39:4-139.2). If a person fails to appear or pay for a ticket, the court may give notice to the vehicle owner that the failure to appear or pay will result in suspension of drivers license. Pursuant to NJSA 39:4-139.10(b) the judge or the Division of Motor Vehicles may now suspend the drivers license of on owner license or operator who has not answered or appeared in response to a failure to appear notice or has not paid or otherwise satisfied outstanding parking from penalties.

CONTESTING PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSIONS

The DMV, prior to suspending a license, or taking specific actionagainst a driver must mail a notice to the driver informing them of the proposed suspension or other action. The proposed action to be taken against any licensee by the DMV becomes effective on the date set forth on the notice except when otherwise specified, unless the licenses or his/her attorney shall make a request, in writing, for a hearing within 25 days from the date of notice. New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC)13:19-1.2.

NJAC 13:19-1.2 requires the request for a hearing to set forth all disputed facts, legal issues and arguments. Under NJAC 13:19-1.2, the DMV may either deny the request for a hearing, require a prehearing conference with a DMV employee, or transmit of the matter to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing pursuant to NJAC 1:1.

The DMV employee who conducts the prehearing is referred to as a driver improvement specialist. Often a resolution of the proposed administrative action is reached between the DMV and the licensee (ie- reduce suspension period -ex 180 days to 100 days).

If the license except the resolution of the proposed administrative action, the license is to have abandoned any further opportunity to be heard

NJAC 13:19-1.8(c).

If the parties cannot reach a resolution, the matter should be submitted to the office of Administrative Law for a hearing NJAC 13:19-1.8(d)

ENHANCED PENALTIES

As set forth previously, the Driving While Suspended calls for mandatory enhanced penalties on conviction second and third offense. What counts as an offense? Both the Division of Motor Vehicles and a court can suspend a driver for driving while suspended.

In State vs. Conte, 245 NJ Super. 629 (Law Div. 1990) the court examined a case where a defendant driver had two prior administrative suspensions by the DMV pursuant to NJSA 39:5-30 and NJAC 13:19-10.8. The driver had no prior court imposed convictions.

NJSA 39:3-40 provides for penalties upon conviction. In a well reasoned opinion by Judge Robert Longhi, on trial de novo, the court stated:

The word conviction is not defined in the statute. Blacks Law Dictionary defines conviction as the final judgment in a verdict or finding of guilty... Blacks Law Dictionary (6 ed. 1990) at 333. NJSA 2C:44-4(a) defines prior conviction of an offense as an adjudication by a court of competent jurisdiction that the defendant committed an offense constitutes a prior conviction, Emphasis supplied. Conviction has also been defined as the confession of the accused in open court or the verdict returned by the jury which ascertains and publishes the fact of guilt. Tucker vs. Tucker, 101 NJ Eq. 72, 73, 137 A. 40 (Ch. 1927).

The motor vehicle statute, NJSA 39:3-40, is quasi-criminal and penal in nature and must be strictly construed against the State. State vs. Churchdale-Leasing Inc., 115 N.J. 83, 102, 557 A. 2d 277 (1989). The word conviction, as it is used in NJSA 39:3-40, refers only to a plea or a finding of guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction and not an order of suspension entered by the DMV as the result of an administrative proceeding. The two prior suspensions are not convictions and defendant must be viewed as a first offender under the statute.

State vs. Conte, 245 N.J. Super. at 631

The sentence imposed was reversed and the matter remanded for sentencing as a first offender.

Updated statute in 2002:

NJSA 39:3-40 Penalties for driving while license suspended, etc.

     39:3-40. No person to whom a drivers license has been refused or whose drivers license or reciprocity privilege has been suspended or revoked, or who has been prohibited from obtaining a drivers license, shall personally operate a motor vehicle during the period of refusal, suspension, revocation, or prohibition.

     No person whose motor vehicle registration has been revoked shall operate or permit the operation of such motor vehicle during the period of such revocation.

     Except as provided in subsection i. of this section, a person violating this section shall be subject to the following penalties:

     a.Upon conviction for a first offense, a fine of $500.00 and, if that offense involves the operation of a motor vehicle during a period when the violators drivers license is suspended for a violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a), revocation of the violators motor vehicle registration privilege in accordance with the provisions of sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1 through C.39:3-40.5);

     b.Upon conviction for a second offense, a fine of $750.00, imprisonment in the county jail for not more than five days and, if the second offense involves the operation of a motor vehicle during a period when the violators drivers license is suspended and that second offense occurs within five years of a conviction for that same offense, revocation of the violators motor vehicle registration privilege in accordance with the provisions of sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1 through C.39:3-40.5);

     c.Upon conviction for a third offense or subsequent offense, a fine of $1,000.00, imprisonment in the county jail for 10 days and, if the third offense involves the operation of a motor vehicle during a period when the violators drivers license is suspended and that third offense occurs within five years of a conviction for the same offense, revocation of the violators motor vehicle registration privilege in accordance with the provisions of sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1 through C.39:3-40.5);

     d.Upon conviction, the court shall impose or extend a period of suspension not to exceed six months;

     e.Upon conviction, the court shall impose a period of imprisonment for not less than 45 days or more than 180 days, if while operating a vehicle in violation of this section a person is involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to another person;

     f. (1) Notwithstanding subsections a. through e., any person violating this section while under suspension issued pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1972, c.197 (C.39:6B-2), upon conviction, shall be fined $500.00, shall have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for an additional period of not less than one year nor more than two years, and may be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 90 days.

     (2)Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections a. through e. of this section and paragraph (1) of this subsection, any person violating this section under suspension issued pursuant to R.S.39:4-50, section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a) or P.L.1982, c.85 (C.39:5-30a et seq.), shall be fined $500, shall have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for an additional period of not less than one year or more than two years, and shall be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than 10 days or more than 90 days.

     (3)Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections a. through e. of this section and paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, a person shall have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for an additional period of not less than one year or more than two years, which period shall commence upon the completion of any prison sentence imposed upon that person, shall be fined $500 and shall be imprisoned for a period of 60 to 90 days for a first offense, imprisoned for a period of 120 to 150 days for a second offense, and imprisoned for 180 days for a third or subsequent offense, for operating a motor vehicle while in violation of paragraph (2) of this subsection while:

     (a)on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property;

     (b)driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 if the municipality, by ordinance or resolution, has designated the school crossing as such; or

     (c)driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 knowing that juveniles are present if the municipality has not designated the school crossing as such by ordinance or resolution.

     A map or true copy of a map depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 1,000 feet of any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board produced pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1987, c.101 (C.2C:35-7) may be used in a prosecution under subparagraph (a) of this paragraph.

     It shall not be relevant to the imposition of sentence pursuant to subparagraph (a) or (b) of this paragraph that the defendant was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or while driving through a school crossing. Nor shall it be relevant to the imposition of sentence that no juveniles were present on the school property or crossing zone at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session;

     g.In addition to the other applicable penalties provided under this section, a person violating this section whose license has been suspended pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35) or the regulations adopted thereunder, shall be fined $3,000. The court shall waive the fine upon proof that the person has paid the total surcharge imposed pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35) or the regulations adopted thereunder. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.39:5-41, the fine imposed pursuant to this subsection shall be collected by the Division of Motor Vehicles pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35), and distributed as provided in that section, and the court shall file a copy of the judgment of conviction with the director and with the Clerk of the Superior Court who shall enter the following information upon the record of docketed judgments: the name of the person as judgment debtor; the Division of Motor Vehicles as judgment creditor; the amount of the fine; and the date of the order. These entries shall have the same force and effect as any civil judgment docketed in the Superior Court;

     h.A person who owns or leases a motor vehicle and permits another to operate the motor vehicle commits a violation and is subject to suspension of his license to operate a motor vehicle and to revocation of registration pursuant to sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1 through C.39:3-40.5) if the person:

     (1)Knows that the operators license to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended for a violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a); or

     (2)Knows that the operators license to operate a motor vehicle is suspended and that the operator has been convicted, within the past five years, of operating a vehicle while the persons license was suspended or revoked;

     i.If the violators drivers license to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1985, c.14 (C.39:4-139.10), the violator shall be subject to a maximum fine of $100 upon proof that the violator has satisfied the parking ticket or tickets that were the subject of the Order of Suspension.

     Amended 1941, c.344; 1945, c.222, s.2; 1947, c.25; 1964, c.9; 1968, c.323, s.10; 1981, c.38, s.1; 1982, c.45, s.2; 1983, c.90, s.1; 1986, c.38; 1992, c.203; 1994, c.64, s.2; 1995, c.286, s.1; 1999, c.185, s.3; 1999, c.423, s.3; 2001, c.213, s.1.

39:3-40.1. Revocation of registration certificate, plates       2. a. Any motor vehicle registration certificate and registration plates shall be revoked if a person is convicted of violating the provisions of:

     (1)subsection a. of R.S.39:3-40 for operating a motor vehicle during a period when that violators drivers license has been suspended for a violation of R.S.39:4-50;

     (2)subsection b. or c. of R.S.39:3-40 for operating a motor vehicle during a period when that violators drivers license has been suspended within a five-year period; or

     (3)R.S.39:4-50 for a second or subsequent offense, if such revocation is ordered by the court as authorized under that section.

     This revocation of registration certificate and registration plates shall apply to all passenger automobiles and motorcycles owned or leased by the violator and registered under the provisions of R.S.39:3-4 and all noncommercial trucks owned or leased by the violator and registered under the provisions of section 2 of P.L.1968, c.439 (C.39:3-8.1), including those passenger automobiles, motorcycles and noncommercial trucks registered or leased jointly in the name of the violator and the other owner of record.

     b.At the time of conviction, the court shall notify each violator that the persons passenger automobile, motorcycle, and noncommercial truck registrations are revoked. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.39:5-35, the violator shall surrender the registration certificate and registration plates of all passenger automobiles, motorcycles, and noncommercial truck registrations subject to revocation under the provisions of this section within 48 hours of the courts notice. The surrender shall be at a place and in a manner prescribed by the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles pursuant to rule and regulation. The court also shall notify the violator that a failure to surrender that vehicle registration certificate and registration plates shall result in the impoundment of the vehicle in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.3) and the seizure of said registration certificate and registration plates. The revocation authorized under the provisions of this subsection shall remain in effect for the period during which the violators license to operate a motor vehicle is suspended and shall be enforced so as to prohibit the violator from registering or leasing any other vehicle, however acquired, during that period.

     c.If the violator subject to the penalties set forth in subsections a. and b. of this section for conviction of violating the provisions of R.S.39:3-40 was operating a motor vehicle owned or leased by another person and that other owner or lessee permitted that operation with knowledge that the violators drivers license was suspended, the court shall suspend the persons license to operate a motor vehicle and revoke the registration certificate and registration plates for that vehicle for a period of not more than six months. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.39:3-35, the owner or lessee shall surrender the registration certificate and registration plates of that vehicle within 48 hours of the courts notice of revocation. The surrender shall be at a place and in a manner prescribed by the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles pursuant to rule and regulation. The court also shall notify the owner or lessee that a failure to surrender the revoked registration certificate and registration plates shall result in the impoundment of the vehicle in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.3) and the seizure of said registration certificate and registration plates. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the court from finding that owner or lessee guilty of violating R.S.39:3-39 or any other such statute concerning the operation of a motor vehicle by an unlicensed driver.

     L.1995,c.286,s.2; amended 2000, c.83, s.2.

N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 Driving While Suspended

Offense 39:3-40  driving while license suspended- general provision 1st Offense - $500 fine, and - drivers license suspension not to exceed 6 months -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation $750 DMV surcharges

2nd Offense - $750 fine, and - drivers license suspension not to exceed 6 months, and - imprisonment 1- 5 days, -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation $750 DMV surcharges  and - if 2nd offense occurs within 5 years of a conviction for N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, then revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1)

3rd or Subsequent Offense - $1000 fine, and - drivers license suspension not to exceed 6 months, and - imprisonment for 10 days, -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation $750 DMV surcharges and - if 3rd offense occurs within 5 years of a conviction of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, then revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1)

Note: For all offenses under this statute that involve an accident resulting in personal injury to another, the court is required to impose a period of imprisonment for not less than 45 days, or more than 180 days. N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(e). If the accident results in the death of another person, then the defendant shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree and the defendants drivers license shall be suspended for an additional period of one year. If the accident results in serious bodily injury to another person, then the defendant shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree and the defendants drivers license shall be suspended for an additional period of one year.

Offense 39:3-40 (f) (1)  [no insurance suspensions] driving while license suspended due to conviction for N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2 (driving without insurance) 1st Offense - $1000 fine, and - drivers license suspension not less than 12 months, nor more than 30 months, and - may impose incarceration not to exceed 90 days $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation

2nd Offense - $1250 fine, and - drivers license suspension of not less than 12 months nor more than 30 months, and - may impose period of incarceration of not more than 90 days, $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation and - if 2nd offense occurs within 5 years of a conviction for 39:3-40, then revocation of registration certificate for period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1)

3rd or Subsequent Offense - $1500 fine, and - drivers license suspension of not less than 12 months nor more than 30 months, and - incarceration of not less than 10 days, nor more than 90 days, $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation and - if 3rd offense occurs within 5 years of a conviction of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, then revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1) Note: The fines and penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are imposed notwithstanding the general penalty provisions listed above. This chart is based on the assumption that the fines and penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are in addition to those found in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(a)-(e). This reading of the statute is suggested by State v. Wrotny, 221 N.J. Super. 226, 228-30 (App. Div. 1987), though Wrotny does not explicitly hold as much. For a contrary reading of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3), see State v. Walsh, 236 N.J. Super. 151, 155 (Law Div. 1989), and State v. Rought, 221 N.J. Super. 42, 47 (Law Div. 1987), which both held that the fines and penalties of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are a substitute for those provided by N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(a)-(e). Before imposing sentence for a conviction under N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3), please consult these cases and any other relevant cases decided after the date of this chart.

Offense 39:3-40 (f) (2)  [DWI suspensions] driving while license suspended due to conviction for: - 39:4-50 (driving while intoxicated), or - 39:4-50.4a (refusal to submit to chemical test), or - 39:5-30a to -30e (habitual offender) 1st Offense - $1000 fine, and -drivers license suspension of not less than 12 months, nor more than 30 months, and -incarceration of not less than 10 days, nor more than 90 days, and -revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1) $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation

2nd Offense -$1250 fine, and - drivers license suspension for not less than 12 months, nor more than 30 months, and - incarceration of not less than 10 days, nor more than 90 days, and - revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1) $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation

3rd or Subsequent Offense - $1500 fine, and - drivers license suspension for not less than 12 months, nor more than 30 months, and - incarceration of not less than 10 days, nor more than 90 days, and - revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1) $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation

Note: The fines and penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are imposed notwithstanding the general penalty provisions listed above. This chart is based on the assumption that the fines and penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are in addition to those found in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(a)-(e). This reading of the statute is suggested by State v. Wrotny, 221 N.J. Super. 226, 228-30 (App. Div. 1987), though Wrotny does not explicitly hold as much. For a contrary reading of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(30), see State v. Walsh, 236 N.J. Super. 151, 155 (Law Div. 1989), and State v. Rought, 221 N.J. Super. 42, 47 (Law Div. 1987), which both held that the fines and penalties of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are a substitute for those provided by N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(a)-(e). Before imposing sentence for a conviction under N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3), please consult these cases and any other relevant cases decided after the date of this chart.

Offense 39:3-40 (f) (3)  [School Zone suspensions] driving while license suspended due to conviction for N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 or 39:4-50.4a, while driving in a school zone, or driving through a school crossing 1st Offense - $1000 fine, and - drivers license suspension for not less than 12 months, nor more than 30 months, and - incarceration of not less than 60 days nor more than 90 days $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation

2nd Offense - $1250 fine, and - drivers license suspension for not less than 12 months, nor more than 30 months, and - incarceration of not less than 120 days nor more than 150 days - if 2nd offense occurs within 5 years of a conviction for N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, then revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1) $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation

3rd or Subsequent Offense - $1500 fine, and - drivers license suspension for not less than 12 months, nor more than 24 months, plus may impose additional suspension not to exceed 6 months - incarceration for 180 days, and - if 3rd offense occurs within 5 years of a conviction of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, then revocation of violators registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1) Note: The fines and penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are imposed notwithstanding the general penalty provisions listed above. This chart is based on the assumption that the fines and penalties set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are in addition to those found in N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(a)-(e). This reading of the statute is suggested by State v. Wrotny, 221 N.J. Super. 226, 228-30 (App. Div. 1987), though Wrotny does not explicitly hold as much. For a contrary reading of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3), see State v. Walsh, 236 N.J. Super. 151, 155 (Law Div. 1989), and State v. Rought, 221 N.J. Super. 42, 47 (Law Div. 1987), which both held that the fines and penalties of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3) are a substitute for those provided by N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(a)-(e). Before imposing sentence for a conviction under N.J.S.A. 39:3-40(f)(1)-(3), please consult these cases and any other relevant cases decided after the date of this chart.

Offense 39:3-40 (g)  [Surcharge Suspensions] driving while license suspended for failure to pay surcharges under N.J.S.A. 17:29A-35 1st Offense - $500 fine, and - drivers license suspension not to exceed 6 months, and - $3000 fine to be collected by DMV. Fine to be waived upon payment of total surcharge imposed -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation

2nd Offense - $750 fine, and - drivers license suspension not to exceed 6 months, and - imprisonment not more than 5 days, and - $3000 fine to be collected by DMV. Fine to be waived upon payment of total surcharge imposed, $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation  and

- if 2nd offense occurs within 5 years of a conviction for N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, then revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1)

3rd or Subsequent Offense - $1000 fine, and - drivers license suspension not to exceed 6 months, and - imprisonment for 10 days, and - $3000 fine to be collected by DMV. Fine to be waived upon payment of total surcharge imposed $750 DMV surcharges -9 car insurance eligibility points for each violation

- if 3rd offense occurs within 5 years of a conviction of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, then revocation of registration certificate for the period drivers license is suspended (see N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.1)

Speak with an experienced attorney to determine possible rights, defenses and mitigating factors.

CONCLUSION

A person is not automatically guilty of driving while suspended simply because the Division of Motor Vehicles claims they are suspended. The defense of a person charged with driving while suspended is not impossible. There are a number of viable defense and arguments which can be pursued to achieve a successful result. Speak with an attorney experienced in Municipal Court practice.


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year

   
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Kenneth Vercammens Law office represents individuals charged with criminal, drug offenses, and serious traffic violations throughout New Jersey. Our office helps people with traffic/ municipal court tickets including drivers charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Refusal and Driving While Suspended.

Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutors Association.

Criminal and Motor vehicle violations can cost you. You will have to pay fines in court or receive points on your drivers license. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. DMV [Division of Motor Vehicles] or have your license suspended. Dont give up! The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal motor vehicle violations.

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