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New Jersey statute 39:3-40 prohibits a driver with a suspended license from driving a car in New Jersey.  The penalties are tiered and range from $533 to $1033, your license will also be suspended for six months.  There are a variety of enhanced penalties if certain circumstances are triggered.  For example, if you are involved in an accident while your license is suspended, you can be facing 45 days of jail.  If your license was suspended because of a DUI, there is additional $500 fine and jail for up to 90 days.

There are two types of license suspension:

  1. Court imposed suspension.  For example, driving never having had a license will result in a six month suspension.  State must provide a certified abstract that the suspension was court ordered.  Defenses include determining that defendant was not notified of the consequences of a violation.  You can check by ordering the transcript of prior the court matter.  After ordering the transcript and discovery of the prior matter, you should consider a post-conviction relief motion to undo the prior suspension.
  2. Administrative or Division of Motor Vehicles suspension.  For example, failure to pay a surcharge, failure to pay child support, or accumulated over 12 points on your license.  The state must introduce: (1) notice of scheduled suspension, (2) proof of mailing notice, (3) order of suspension, (4) proof of mailing order, and (5) certified motor vehicle abstract.  If the notices were sent to the wrong address and you properly notified DMV of the correct address but didn’t receive the notice, then you have a solid defense.

There is debate until when is a suspension valid.  Some Judge’s hold that until DMV re-issues your driver’s license, you are still suspended and subject to enhanced penalties even if the initial period of suspension has lapsed.  Not all Judges take this approach.  The distinction is when one is “restorable” to when one is “Restored.”  This is particularly troubling for undocumented individuals.  If there license is suspended for one day, they can’t be issued a new license in New Jersey but they may be “restorable.”  That means, under the absolute position, until the law changes this person would be subject to enhance penalties for driving under a suspended license even 10 years later even though the initial suspension was only for one day.