Is Driving Without a License a Crime in New Jersey?

Criminal Defense NJ Driving without license

If you were pulled over or arrested for driving without a license, you likely have questions about what happens next. New Jersey legislators believe unlicensed drivers are a risk to the public and put everyone in danger. That is why police throughout our state are constantly on the lookout for people driving without a license in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-10. But at William Proetta Criminal Law, we know that not everyone who operates a motor vehicle without a license is a bad person. We know that sometimes mistakes happen. You may need to drive a vehicle for an emergency or simply could make an error in judgment. You may have broken the law, but one wrong decision doesn’t have to ruin your life. 

If you were cited for being an unlicensed driver in New Jersey, you need to consult an experienced lawyer to discuss how to minimize the penalties. At William Proetta Criminal Law, we’ll develop a personalized approach to your defense. Call or contact us today for a free consultation. 

Is it Against the Law to Drive Without a License in New Jersey?

Yes. Under § 39:3-10 of the New Jersey Statutes, it is illegal to drive on public roads in the state of New Jersey without a valid driver’s license, probationary license, or learner’s permit. 

What are the Penalties for Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License in New Jersey?

New Jersey law specifies that any person caught driving without a license in violation of the traffic code will face the following penalties:

  • Up to $500 in fines
  • Up to 60 days of jail time
  • 6 months additional suspension/delay in getting your driver’s license

Exceptions or additional penalties may also apply to New Jersey’s standard penalties for driving without a license. For instance, someone caught driving without a license who has never been licensed to drive in New Jersey or any other state can be subject to a minimum fine of $200 and prohibited from obtaining a valid license for at least 180 days. However, the standard penalties may not apply to someone who is pulled over and does not have a license due to another party’s technical or administrative error.

What Defenses Do I Have If I Was Driving Without a License in NJ?

Depending on the circumstances, you could rely on one or more of the following defenses if you do not have a valid driver’s license at a traffic stop:

  • You have a valid driver’s license but didn’t have it on you at the time.
  • You had a recently expired license when you were pulled over but have since obtained a new one, which you can present to the court.
  • You were driving during an emergency, such as taking someone to a hospital.
  • You recently moved to New Jersey and have not yet received a state license.
  • You were driving a military or farm vehicle that does not require a license.

Not all of these potential defenses apply to every case, and more specific ones may be appropriate in your case. After reviewing the circumstances, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can determine the best strategy for you. For instance, if you have never been licensed in this country or any other, we can normally get an extension of your court date to allow you time to get a New Jersey license before returning to court. This can help you avoid a suspension and or jail time.

Pulled Over for Driving Without a License in New Jersey? Contact William Proetta Criminal Law

If you were pulled over and charged for driving without a license in New Jersey, contact William Proetta Criminal Law immediately. We have over a decade of experience representing clients charged with a wide range of serious motor vehicle offenses and crimes in New Jersey. We have the knowledge and resources needed to represent you aggressively and push for the best possible outcome in your case. 

Get the legal advice you need now. Call or contact us online for a free case review.

William Proetta

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.