While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's New Jersey driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your New Jersey driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for a New Jersey driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Excessive Moving Violations. The state of New Jersey operates on a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation they commit. If you accumulate 12 or more points on your current driver record, your license will be suspended.
- Driving Under the Influence. Your New Jersey driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The length of the suspension depends on the severity of the violation and whether it is a first or repeat offense.
- Driving with a Suspended License or no License. Driving with a suspended license will lead to an increase in the length of the suspension, and you may also be imprisoned for up to five years. The duration of the additional suspension varies depending on the reason for the underlying suspension. Your driver's license may also be suspended if you do not have your license with you while you are driving.
- Driving without Insurance. All motor vehicles driven in New Jersey must be properly insured. Failure to provide proof of valid auto insurance can result in your license being suspended.
- Other Driving-Related Violations. Your New Jersey driver's license may also be suspended if you engage in reckless driving, are found to be at fault in a fatal accident, or if you abandon your vehicle on a public highway.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
- Non-Driving Reasons for License Suspension. A variety of non-driving violations or issues can result in your license being suspended. These include: not responding to a Motor Vehicle Commission notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR NEW JERSEY DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your New Jersey driver's license suspended is a serious matter, and it is essential to adhere to State law in the event that your license is suspended. If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
The three most important things to be aware of following a license suspension are:
- If your license has not already been taken away from you in court, you must surrender it to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. You can surrender your license in person at a Regional Service Center, or mail it to:
Motor Vehicle Commission Driver Management Bureau P.O. Box 134 Trenton, New Jersey 08650
- While your license is suspended, you are not permitted to drive. If you are found driving with a suspended license, you may be imprisoned for up to five years, and/or the length of your suspension may be increased.
- After your suspension is over, you will receive a written notice of restoration, with instructions on how to restore your license. Do not drive until you have completed the necessary steps and received a valid, replacement license from the New Jersey MVC.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you receive a Notice of Scheduled Suspension from the MVC, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge or the MVC Chief Administrator will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program removes three points from the current driving record, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
You will receive a Notice of Restoration from the MVC after you have completed your suspension period. The notice will include complete instructions regarding how to get your license back. Generally, you will need to:
- Pay a restoration fee of $100. The fee can be paid online or in person at a Regional Service Center. You can also mail a check or money order payable to:
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission P.O. Box 140 Trenton, NJ 08650-0140
- Apply for a standard license renewal to obtain a new license.
Note that after you license is restored, you will be subject to a Mandatory Probation Period of one year, during which any new violations may result in an additional suspension of your New Jersey driver's license.