How to Reinstate Your Suspended Drivers License in New Jersey
Drivers with revoked or suspended drivers licenses in New Jersey must complete the NJ drivers license reinstatement process prior to resuming their driving activities in order to avoid further penalties. Drivers license suspensions are administered by the state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). When completing the drivers license restoration procedure, motorists will be required to meet the conditions of their suspension or revocation.
Note that, in addition to meeting the requirements set forth by the MVC, drivers may also be required to fulfill certain reinstatement criteria mandated by a state or a federal court. Learn how to reinstate suspended and revoked drivers licenses in New Jersey in the following sections.
Reinstating a New Jersey Suspended License
Since driving with a suspended license in New Jersey results in strict fines and penalties, drivers must reinstate their revoked or suspended driving licenses as soon as they become eligible to do so. The commission generally mails out driving license restoration notices after the conclusion of the penalty period, which contain information about your suspension and how to lift it.
To complete certain steps in the NJ driving license reinstatement process, drivers may be required to visit a local MVC location in person. Furthermore, you may order your NJ driving record via the internet to learn more about the administrative action in effect against your driving license, in case you do not receive the MVC Notice of Restoration.
How to Reinstate a New Jersey Suspended Drivers License
When reinstating suspended drivers licenses in New Jersey, motorists will be required to complete the specific steps of their driving license suspension or revocation penalty. Note that the drivers license restoration process may vary based on the severity of the committed offense and the corresponding penalty. To reinstate drivers licenses in NJ, motorists will generally be required to:
- Wait out the mandatory drivers license suspension period.
- Meet any court-set requirements (if required).
- Complete a defensive driving course (if required).
- Enroll in an alcohol and/or drug treatment program and install an ignition interlock device (for DUI-related offenses).
- Pay the applicable license restoration fees and submit the necessary identification documents.
Note that the MVC reviews driving license reinstatement applications on a case-by-case basis, and drivers may be required to complete certain specific reinstatement steps. Motorists who discontinue paying their child support payments, for instance, will have their driving license suspended until they provide all late payments.
Suspension Periods in New Jersey
Before reinstating drivers licenses in New Jersey, penalized drivers will generally be required to complete a specific penalty period. The duration of the drivers license suspension period varies based on the seriousness of the committed violation. In certain cases, the suspended driving licenses issued by the NJ MVC may be of an indefinite nature.
If you fail to appear at a court proceeding, for instance, your driving privilege may be suspended until you resolve the issue. Several examples of driving license suspensions in NJ and the duration of their penalty periods are outlined in the following list:
- Providing false information to the NJ MVC: A six-month suspension.
- A first offense of refusing to submit to an alcohol test while driving in the vicinity of a school: a drivers license suspension of 12 to 24 months.
- Allowing an intoxicated driver to operate your vehicle: A suspension of 90 days.
- Driving with a suspended license in NJ: An additional suspension of six months.
New Jersey Point System
Suspended driving licenses in New Jersey may also be incurred by accruing a large number of demerit points on your record. Per the rules of the MVC Point System, traffic violations are recorded on the motorist’s driving record along with a specific number of points.
Drivers license suspensions are generally issued to drivers who accumulate 12 or more points in any two-year period. Note that more serious offenses result in a larger amount of points than minor offenses. Review several examples of traffic violations and their corresponding point penalties in the following list:
- Riding with a passenger on a motorized bicycle: 2 points.
- Using a mobile phone while operating your vehicle: 3 points.
- Driving 15 to 29 mph over the posted speed limit: 4 points.
- Improperly passing a school bus: 5 points.
When issuing suspended drivers licenses in NJ for an excess of penalty points, the MVC takes into consideration the date of conviction instead of the date the violation was committed. Note that the commission will remove up to three points from your record for every year without a traffic violation. Even though points lose their value over time, the offense will still be listed on the driver’s record.
Traffic School in New Jersey
Drivers at risk of a driving license suspension in New Jersey for an excess of demerit points may be able to avoid the punishment by attending a state-approved driving program. Motorists can avoid a suspended driving license by either completing the MVC Driver Improvement Program (DIP) or an approved defensive driving course (DDC).
If you accumulate more than 12 negative points within a 24-month period, for instance, you will receive the MVC Notice of Scheduled Suspension. In such cases, you can prevent an NJ drivers license suspension by choosing to attend the state DIP program. Drivers who successfully complete the driver improvement course will have three negative points removed from their records.
Another method of avoiding a suspended drivers license for an excess of points is to complete an approved defensive driving course. By submitting a certificate of completion of a DDC course, drivers will be able to remove two negative points from their record. If you successfully complete a DDC program, you may also qualify for a reduction of your NJ car insurance rates.
Note: Motorists can reduce their total point count with a DDC certificate only once within a five-year period.
Types of New Jersey Driver’s License Suspensions
The steps in the New Jersey driving license reinstatement process generally vary based on the type of drivers license suspension issued by the state MVC. While minor offenses generally result in suspended driving licenses of a shorter duration and fewer reinstatement requirements.
More severe violations, in comparison, may result in suspensions of several years, as well as more complex restoration criteria. Different NJ driving license suspensions may result from a wide variety of driving and non-driving violations, such as:
- Failing to maintain the proper vehicle insurance coverage.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Violating the state traffic laws.
- Failing to provide payment for any surcharge payments.
- Committing a hit-and-run offense that results in bodily injuries or death.
New Jersey DUI Suspensions
Stricter New Jersey driving license suspensions are administered for driving under the influence (DUI) violations than the ones outlined above, as the state acknowledges the effect of drugs and alcohol on safe driving. In addition to suspended driving licenses, intoxicated motorists are also at risk of steep fines and community service and jail sentences.
The severity of the NJ drivers license suspension and the additional court sanctions varies based on several factors. Drivers who were apprehended operating with an extremely high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, for example, will incur harsher penalties.
Drivers Older Than 21
When reinstating suspended driving licenses in New Jersey from a DUI-related suspension, drivers will generally be required to meet certain court-set conditions, in addition to the MVC requirements. Adult motorists are at risk of a suspended drivers license if they are operating their vehicles with a BAC level of .08 or higher or while under the influence of drugs.
Under the NJ implied consent law, driving license suspensions are also administered to drivers who refuse to undergo a chemical breath test. Review several DUI-related offenses and their resulting sanctions in the following list:
- First DUI offense with a BAC between .08 and .10 percent results in an NJ suspended driving license for the duration of three months, a fine of $250 to $400 and a 30-day jail sentence.
- First DUI offense with a BAC of .10 percent or higher leads to a suspension of seven months to one year, a $300 to $500 fine and a 30-day imprisonment sentence.
- Driving while suspended for a DUI conviction results in an additional driving license suspension of one to two years, a $500 fine and a jail sentence of 10 to 90 days.
Note: Repeat offenders are subject to longer suspension periods, larger fees, longer jail sentences and mandatory community service penalties.
Drivers at risk of a New Jersey drivers license suspension for a DUI offense are also subject to penalties other than the ones outlined above. Per state law, DUI offenders must remain detained in the NJ Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) for at least 12 hours. If the IDRC determines that you need to complete a treatment program, you will be unable to finalize the driving license restoration procedure until you do so.
Another common requirement to reinstate driving licenses in NJ after a DUI conviction is to install and operate your vehicle with an ignition interlock device for a specific amount of time. Also, in addition to the base DUI fine, drivers may be required to pay other costs, such as the IDRC daily fee, the annual surcharge fine, as well as fees payable to several funds.
Drivers Younger Than 21
When issuing suspended driving licenses in New Jersey for a DUI offense to drivers younger than 21 years of age, the MVC follows stricter rules and regulations. Minor motorists will be penalized with an NJ driving license suspension even if their BAC level is as low as .01 percent at the time of apprehension. The suspension penalty issued to drivers younger than 21 years of age will last between 30 and 90 days.
Unlicensed drivers will undergo the drivers license suspension when they obtain their first license. Minor motorists will also be required to complete a 15 to 30-day community service penalty. As part of their reinstatement criteria, offenders may be required to enroll an alcohol education or treatment program as well.
Car Insurance Suspensions in New Jersey
The process of reinstating driving licenses in New Jersey must also be completed by drivers who were sanctioned with a suspended credential for failing to maintain a valid car insurance policy in NJ. The MVC mails out notices of scheduled driving license suspensions to drivers who stop maintaining the minimum liability insurance coverage.
First no-insurance offenses lead to a one-year suspension of driving privileges and a $300 to $1000 fine. Second offenses lead to a two-year license suspension, a fine of up to $5,000, a 14-day jail sentence and a community service sentence of 30 days.
To reinstate driving licenses in NJ after a suspension for lack of insurance, drivers will be required to obtain the proper coverage and submit proof of insurance to the MVC. Motorists will also be required to pay the $100 driving license reinstatement fee, and provide their full name, driver’s license number and contact information.
Traffic Summons or Failure to Pay
The state MVC also administers drivers license suspensions in New Jersey for failure to pay an NJ traffic ticket. Penalties of suspended driving licenses for ticket-related offenses are generally requested by the presiding court. Until the driver settles the issue with the court, his or her driving privileges will remain postponed.
To avoid a driving license suspension for an unpaid ticket, motorists can either plead guilty to the offense, provide the ticket payment in due time or contest the issue at their scheduled hearing. If you are found not guilty, you will not be required to pay the citation and the MVC will not add any demerit points to your record. Unless you are required to appear at court, the most convenient method to pay a traffic ticket is through the official New Jersey Courts website.
Drivers may also be at risk of a suspended drivers license in NJ if they fail to pay a ticket incurred in another state. According to the provisions of the Non-Resident Violator Compact, motorists who commit a traffic violation outside of their state will be required to settle the citation or face penalties by their home state DMVs.
New Jersey Hardship Drivers License
Drivers who are completing a New Jersey drivers license suspension penalty may have the option of obtaining a restricted-use license which will authorize them to operate their vehicles to and from essential destinations, such as work or school. Motorists with suspended driving licenses can learn whether or not the state MVC offers this credential by contacting a local office of the commission.
If motorists are unable to obtain a provisional drivers license, they will be required to complete the penalty period and meet the requirements of their suspension prior to reinstating driving licenses in New Jersey.
Fees to Reinstate a New Jersey Drivers License
During the process to reinstate suspended drivers licenses in New Jersey, licensees will be required to pay several restoration costs. The base fee to restore NJ suspended driving licenses is currently set at $100, and drivers can pay it online, in person or by mail.
Prior to providing the payment for the driving license reinstatement fee, however, motorists may also be required to pay additional costs, often to entities other than the commission. For instance, New Jersey driving license suspensions are issued to motorists who fail to pay the additional surcharge cost of certain driving and non-driving offenses.
Per the regulations of the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System (NJSVS), drivers who commit certain types of violations will be penalized with a surcharge fine. If you operate your vehicle while suspended, for example, you will be penalized with a fine of $750. When reinstating your driving privileges in such circumstances, you will first be required to provide payment for the surcharge violation cost before paying the base restoration fee.