Dealing with Suspended Licenses: Restoring Your Driving Privileges in New Jersey
October 25, 2023
Losing your driving privileges in New Jersey due to a suspended license can feel overwhelming, limiting not just your mobility but possibly affecting your livelihood, social connections, and daily routines. Driving is a crucial part of modern life, and a suspended license can feel like an anchor holding you back. At The Law Offices of Michele Finizio, we understand the gravity of this situation and aim to provide a comprehensive guide to help you restore your driving privileges in the Garden State.
Why Licenses Get Suspended
Driving licenses in New Jersey can be suspended for a variety of reasons, ranging from traffic violations to other non-driving-related offenses. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) enforces strict guidelines to ensure the safety of all road users. Here are some common reasons why driving licenses get suspended in the Garden State:
1. Accumulation of Points
In New Jersey, the MVC operates on a point-based system. If a driver accumulates 12 or more points on their current driving record, their license can be suspended.
2. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or under the influence of drugs can result in a license suspension. The duration of suspension depends on the number of prior offenses and the level of BAC.
3. Refusal to Take a Breathalyzer Test
Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test when pulled over on suspicion of DUI can lead to a license suspension, even if the individual isn’t subsequently found to be under the influence.
4. Driving Without Insurance
Operating a vehicle without the required insurance is a serious offense in New Jersey and can result in license suspension, among other penalties.
5. Failure to Appear in Court or Pay Fines
Ignoring a traffic summons or failing to pay fines associated with a ticket can result in a suspension of driving privileges.
6. Failure to Pay Child Support
New Jersey can suspend the driving privileges of individuals who fall behind on child support payments or fail to comply with a visitation order.
7. Drug Offenses
Even if unrelated to driving, being convicted of drug offenses can result in a driving license suspension in New Jersey.
8. Abandoning a Vehicle on a Public Highway
If a person abandons their vehicle on a public road, they risk having their license suspended.
9. At-Fault Accidents without Sufficient Insurance
If a driver is involved in an at-fault accident and doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover the damages or injuries, their license may be suspended.
10. Using a Fake ID
Using a fake ID, especially by underage individuals, to purchase alcohol can result in a driving license suspension.
11. Habitual Offenders
Individuals who repeatedly violate traffic laws or commit motor vehicle offenses within a specific time frame can have their licenses suspended for being habitual offenders.
Steps to Restoring Your Driving Privileges
Having your driving privileges revoked or suspended can be a significant hindrance in your daily life, affecting everything from work to personal responsibilities. Whether due to DUIs, the accumulation of traffic tickets, or other violations, there’s usually a pathway to reinstating your driving rights. Here’s a step-by-step guide to navigate the process:
Understand the Reason for Suspension
Before taking any corrective measures, it’s essential to understand why your license was suspended in the first place. Common reasons include:
- Accumulation of too many traffic points
- DUI/DWI offenses
- Failure to appear in court or pay fines
- Driving without insurance
Serve the Suspension Period
In most cases, there’s a mandatory suspension period during which you cannot legally drive. Ensure that you adhere to this timeframe to avoid further complications.
Enroll in Required Courses
Depending on the reason for suspension, you might be required to attend:
- Defensive driving courses: To refresh your knowledge of traffic rules.
- Alcohol or drug education programs: Especially if your license was suspended due to DUI/DWI offenses.
Pay Outstanding Fines
If your suspension was due to unpaid traffic tickets, court fees, or other fines, ensure all your dues are settled. Some jurisdictions might add additional reinstatement fees.
Obtain SR-22 Insurance (if required)
In cases of severe traffic violations or DUI/DWI offenses, you might be required to obtain SR-22 insurance. It’s a certificate issued by your car insurance company to prove that you have the minimum liability coverage required by your state.
Apply for a Hardship or Restricted License (if applicable)
Some states offer hardship or restricted licenses that allow you to drive under specific circumstances, such as commuting to work or school. If eligible, apply for this during your suspension period to maintain limited driving privileges.
Reapply for Your License
Once your suspension period is over and you’ve met all requirements:
- Visit the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) or equivalent agency in your jurisdiction.
- Complete the necessary paperwork for reinstatement.
- Pass any required tests, which might include vision, written, and driving tests, especially if the suspension period was extended.
Maintain a Clean Driving Record
After reinstatement, it’s crucial to stay on the right side of the law. Any subsequent infractions could lead to a more extended suspension or even permanent revocation of your driving privileges.
Regularly Review Your Driving Record
Occasionally check your driving record to ensure no inaccuracies or mistakes could jeopardize your privileges in the future.
Seek Legal Counsel (if necessary)
If you face difficulties reinstating your license or believe the suspension was unjust, consider consulting with an attorney specializing in traffic laws. They can guide you through the legal process and represent your interests.
Prevention: Keeping Your License Intact
While restoration is possible, prevention is always the preferred route:
- Stay Updated on Points: Regularly check how many points you’ve accrued and be conscious about avoiding violations.
- Attend Defensive Driving Courses: These courses, approved by the MVC, can deduct points from your record and help prevent future violations.
- Address Tickets Promptly: If you receive a ticket, address it immediately—either pay the fine or contest it in court. Ignoring tickets only compounds the problem.
- Be Aware of Laws: Stay updated on New Jersey’s driving laws. The more informed you are, the less likely you are to inadvertently violate a rule.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney at The Law Offices of Michele Finizio for a Free Consultation About Your Case Today
Having a suspended license in New Jersey can be challenging, but restoration is achievable with the right steps and guidance. At The Law Offices of Michele Finizio, we’re dedicated to helping our clients navigate the complexities of suspended licenses and driving-related legalities. If you find yourself facing a suspension, or if you’re in the process of reinstatement and feel overwhelmed, reach out to us. Let’s steer your journey back to the open road, one informed step at a time.