Driving is considered a privilege and not a right in New Jersey. In this sense, your conduct, including criminal charges, can impact your privilege to be a driver and to have a driver’s license. Your driving privileges may be affected in a temporary or short-term way, or in a more long-term way, based on illegal driving activities or criminal activities entirely unrelated to driving, like selling drugs. To learn more about how being convicted of a criminal offense or traffic violation can affect your ability to drive in New Jersey, continue reading. You can also contact our Middlesex County law firm anytime at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney who can explain how NJ law applies in your specific case.
Why Your Driver’s License may be Affected by a Conviction in NJ
If you are found guilty of certain offenses in New Jersey, the department of motor vehicles (“DMV”) is required to suspend, cancel or revoke your license. First, you may lose your license as a result of a motor vehicle violation. This includes guilt as determined through conviction after trial, as well as submitting a guilty plea. For example, being found guilty of racing on a public street or eluding the police means that your driver’s license must be suspended for a period of months or even years. If you are a “habitual traffic offender” (HTO) – someone who regularly breaks traffic laws – and have three offenses within five years, then your license can be suspended, canceled or revoked for five or more years. Some offenses include warranting driver’s license suspension include: driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving with a suspended license.
Second, a criminal charge that impacts your driver’s license does not always have to do with driving. Drug charges can affect your license, including suspension (temporary) and revocation (more permanent). In New Jersey, if you are found guilty of possessing drugs in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, your driving privileges may be suspended for up to two years. This includes even a disorderly persons (misdemeanor) charge for possession of marijuana. Furthermore, a driver’s license suspension covers possession, selling or trafficking crimes related to drugs. After being convicted or pleading guilty to the offense, the court must suspend your license immediately.
Finally, getting your license back after it is suspended or revoked is a separate issue from your criminal case, one that requires you to deal with the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles. You are usually required to pay fees to reinstate your license after suspension and, after revocation, you may have to re-apply for a license. In New Jersey, this includes paying fees, as well as completing the road skills and driver’s knowledge tests.
Facing a License Suspension for Drug or Traffic Charges in Middlesex County?
Criminal charges – even those that have nothing to do with driving, like controlled dangerous substance offenses – can impact your driver’s license in New Jersey. If you have been charged with an offense that carries a license suspension sentence, you need sound legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney. At William Proetta Criminal Law, our lawyers are dedicated to defending clients against criminal and traffic charges throughout Middlesex County, NJ, including in Woodbridge, Edison, New Brunswick, East Brunswick, and Piscataway. Call (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation or send us a message online.