What are the Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License in New Jersey?

As an attorney who defends against traffic violations in Municipal Courts throughout Union County, one of the most common questions that I am asked is “What happens if I receive a ticket for driving with a suspended license?” The following will provide a thorough understanding of the process and penalties associated with these offenses in New Jersey.

First and foremost, you will be required to appear in the Municipal Court located within the municipality where your ticket was issued. For example, if you were stopped and issued a ticket for driving with a suspended license in Cranford, you will most likely be required to appear in Cranford Municipal Court to have your case heard and decided. Due to the potential penalties that may be imposed if you are convicted, I always advise my clients to have an attorney present and representing their interests before the Judge and Municipal Prosecutor.

As for the offense known as “driving while suspended,” this motor vehicle violation can be found in Title 39, specifically under N.J.S. 39:3-40. This section prohibits any person whose license has been revoked from operating a motor vehicle, with specific punishments delineated based on the number (if any) of previous offenses for which the person has been convicted. The penalties imposed in a given case are distinguished as follows:

  • For a first offense, a person may be sentenced to a fine of up to $500, as well as an additional 6 months of driver’s license suspension.
  • For a first offense following a conviction for DWI or DUI, a person may be sentenced to a fine of up to $500, as well as an additional driver’s license suspension ranging from 1 to 2 years, and between 10 and 90 days to be served in the county jail.
  • For a second offense, a person may be sentenced to a fine of up to $750, as well as an additional 6 months of driver’s license suspension, and between 1 and 5 days to be served in the county jail.
  • For a third offense, a person may be sentenced to a fine of up to $1,000, as well as an additional 6 months of driver’s license suspension, and a mandatory 10 days to be served in the county jail.

It is important to note that these punishments are enhanced if the offense occurred within a school zone, on school property, or at a school crossing. In these cases, a person convicted may be sentenced to a $500 fine, an additional period of license suspension ranging from 1 to 2 years, and a prison sentence of:

  • Between 60 and 90 days for a first offense
  • 120 to 150 days for a second offense; and
  • 180 days for a third or subsequent offense

Although one might assume that a driving while suspended ticket is not exceedingly serious due to its classification as a traffic offense, these tickets can result in serious consequences, not the least of which is time spent in jail. If you have been issued a ticket for driving with a suspended license, contact my offices anytime for additional information.