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. What’s interesting about that last class of offenses is the law has changed recently and made 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 the law, as amended, you now face no revocation, provided that there was no accident and that you obtain insurance by the time the charge is adjudicated.
A charge for drugs in the motor vehicle similarly underwent a big change. Previously, 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 a referendum that was on November’s ballot, which passed with a significant majority. As of January 1, 2021, possession of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense, provided it’s under the weight limit set forth in the statute that is about to be passed. Overall, there have been some significant recent changes that certainly benefit motorists.
What Is the Difference Between a License Suspension and a Revocation?
Technically speaking, a revocation is when the court takes your license or when your driving privileges are revoked because you’ve accumulated too many points. 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 the N.J. Motor Vehicle Commission. A suspension occurs when your license expires. In practical reality, 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, in addition to the ordinary penalties for driving while revoked, you face an additional one- to two-year revocation, as well as mandatory jail time of ten to 90 days.
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 privilege 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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