If your drivers’ license has been suspended in the state of New Jersey, first of all you should not be driving. But if you are caught driving on a suspended license, the penalties can be extremely damaging, ranging from large fines to jail time.
You can lose your driving privileges in New Jersey for a number of reasons. Some of them include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Physical or psychological impairment
- Reckless driving
- Driving without insurance
- Abandonment of a motor vehicle on a public highway
- Causing a fatal car accident
- Exceeding 12 points on your license
- Failing to pay child support
- Failing to pay tickets/fines
- And more…
So, what happens if someone is caught driving on a suspended license in New Jersey? What are some of the penalties you might face, and how can you avoid jail time?
Driving While Suspended Penalties
New Jersey drivers caught operating a vehicle on a suspended license can face a variety of penalties. These are broken down based on the number of offenses they’ve committed. First offense penalties are more lax than second, and second offenses are easier than third.
Here’s how they break down:
First Offense: The first time you’re caught driving on a suspended license within the state of New Jersey you’re ordered to pay a $500 fine. Drivers may also see a six-month extension added onto their suspension.
Second Offense: Two-time offenders see an increased fine of $750. Like first offenders, an additional six months could be added onto their suspension. Most importantly, a second offense comes with a mandatory jail sentence of up to five days.
Third Offense and Beyond: After a second offense, all additional instances come with a $1,000 fine, a possible addition of six months added onto your suspension, and a mandatory jail sentence of up to 10 days.
It’s important also to know that if you are driving on a suspended license in New Jersey and you are involved in a car accident that injures someone else, you will go to jail for at least 45 days. This occurs whether or not you were at fault for the accident. If you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on a suspended license, you will receive an additional suspension between one and two years, and you will go to jail for a period of time between 10 and 90 days.
Speaking of driving under the influence, penalties for violating a suspension that was issued because of a DUI or DWI are far more severe.
DUI/DWI Suspension Penalties
If your license has been suspended because you were found driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, you face a far more dire situation. All standard penalties still apply, but they’ve been increased. Any fines go up by $500, so a first offense now carries a financial penalty of $1,000.
What’s more, instead of extending the suspension by six months, you’re looking at an added one to two years. Mandatory imprisonment also jumps up to anywhere between 10 and 90 days. The judge also suspends the motorist’s vehicle registration.
Still, some cases can be even more severe. Driving on the revocation list for DWI recipients can be considered a fourth-degree crime, which is a felony. At that time, you’re facing a minimum jail sentence of 180 days, which can last up to 18 months. This is without possibility of parole or any time off for good behavior.
In the case of a felony charge, the financial restitution owed to the state could skyrocket to as high as $10,000.
Still though, some offenders might be able to avoid jail time altogether thanks to a program called SLAP.
Can the NJ SLAP Program Keep You Out of Jail?
The Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program, or SLAP, is a program that runs on community-based corrections. It can keep you out of jail if you are caught driving on a suspended license. People sentenced under the SLAP program engage in community service related labor in lieu of jail time. This allows light offenders to maintain their employment while serving a sentence.
Ideal candidates for SLAP are first time or minor offenders who do not pose a threat to the public. Shoplifting, criminal mischief, and driving offenses are fairly common for those engaging in SLAP related duties.
Individuals working under the SLAP program perform a variety of community-oriented labor tasks related to recycling services, landscaping, painting, road clean up, and other forms of non-skilled manual labor for nonprofit public and private agencies. SLAP participation is reliant on adhering to the program’s rules and regulations. Any violations could see the revocation of SLAP duties, at which time the person in question will be forced to serve the rest of their sentence in jail.
If you’ve recently been caught driving on a suspended drivers’ license, the law offices of Marc A. Futterweit can help you navigate the legal system and avoid the harshest penalties. Call us today at 973.442.0200 for more information, or visit us online.