What Are Some of the Common Traffic-Related Cases that Your Firm Sees?
We represent many people charged with moving violations such as speeding, careless driving, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, following too closely, and failure to obey a traffic signal, as well as other violations like driving without insurance, driving while your license is suspended or revoked, being an unlicensed driver, and operating a motor vehicle while in possession of drugs. As to that last class of offenses, the law changed recently to make them much less serious than they used to be. For example, those charged with driving without insurance used to face a mandatory one-year license revocation, but under current law, you now face no revocation, provided there was no accident and you obtain insurance by the time the charge is adjudicated.
A charge for drugs in the motor vehicle also underwent a big change. Before, in addition to a modest fine, there was a mandatory two-year driving privilege revocation associated with the charge. The revocation was recently eliminated, making this only a minor charge rather than the serious one it once was. That amendment was a precursor to New Jersey’s recent legalization of marijuana that occurred as a result of the referendum on last November’s ballot, which passed with a significant majority. As of January 1, 2021, possession of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense, provided the amount possessed is under the weight limits set forth in recent legislation–i.e., six ounces of marijuana or 17 grams of hash oil.
What Is the Difference Between a License Suspension and a Revocation?
Technically speaking, a revocation is forever until your driving privilege is restored on application to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission [“NJMVC”] after satisfying certain conditions; if those conditions are not satisfied, your driving privilege remains forfeited. Suspensions are for a fixed period of time and restoration is conditioned merely by the payment of a restoration fee.
New Jersey has a system that assigns so many points depending on the nature of the traffic violation that occurs. If you reach 12 points, your driving privilege can be revoked administratively by NJMVC. A suspension also occurs when your license expires.
Practically speaking, there is no difference between a suspension and a revocation.
If You’re Caught Driving while Your Driver’s License Is Suspended or Revoked for a DWI, What Further Charges Will You Face? Could That Impact Your Original DWI Charge?
The potential repercussions would depend on how many prior convictions you have for driving while your privilege is revoked. If your privilege is revoked for a first offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol, you face a one- to two-year revocation of your driving privilege as well as a mandatory 10- to 90-day jail sentence in addition to the ordinary penalties for driving while revoked,.
For an offense of driving while revoked after a second or a subsequent DWI conviction, in addition to those enhanced traffic penalties, you can be indicted for a fourth-degree crime, which would subject you to a maximum of 18 months in state prison, with a minimum mandatory term of incarceration of six months. A fourth-degree crime is our lowest level of criminality, but nonetheless, it’s still deemed what other states would call a felony, meaning you would lose your right to vote if convicted. And, of course, other disabilities associated with a felony conviction would apply.
Can You Ever Have Those Charges Removed or Sealed on Your Record?
There’s no prohibition against having the criminal offense of driving while revoked from a DWI removed, but the traffic violation would remain on your driving record forever because New Jersey law doesn’t have a provision for expungement of traffic offenses. DWI is generally classified as a traffic offense here in New Jersey, instead of as a crime—though it can be considered an element of crimes like vehicular assault or vehicular homicide. A DWI conviction would, therefore, remain on your driving record forever.
For more information on Traffic Charges in New Jersey, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 218-9090 today.
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