When you are convicted for a DWI offense in NJ, the penalties include a license suspension. For lower-level DWIs, the license suspension may be as low as 3 months, but for more serious or repeat violations, you could face much longer suspensions. After your license suspension is over, you cannot get back behind the wheel until your license gets reinstated, or else you risk facing additional charges and license suspensions for driving with a suspended license. The Atlantic City license suspension lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych explain how to get your driver’s license back in New Jersey after a DWI. For help with your case, call our law offices today.
Restoring Your Driver’s License After a DWI
Drunk driving offenses can suspend your license for anywhere from 3 months (for a first-time offense) to 10 years (for a third offense). When you lose your license this way, you cannot legally drive for any reason. New Jersey offers no options for hardship or provisional licenses, meaning you cannot get behind the wheel until you get your license back.
Even if your driver’s license suspension period is over, you need to get the MVC (Motor Vehicle Commission) to restore your license before you can drive again. Your license does not automatically restore when the suspension period ends, and you need to file paperwork before you can get your license back. In addition to waiting for the suspension period to end, you also need to pay-off any outstanding fines or penalties for the suspension. If you still have a balance on your fees, the MVC will not let you restore your license.
If your license was suspended, but it has not expired, you can restore your license by simply paying the restoration fee. Every license restoration costs $100, which you can pay online, in-person, or through the mail. Remember that if you are going to a license center to get your license restored in person, you cannot drive there. Your license is still suspended, and getting charged with driving on a suspended license while you’re on your way to get your license restored would be unfortunate.
If your license expired during your suspension, you can pay the fee and seek a normal license renewal to get your license reinstated. This usually requires appearing in person to get your photo taken, perform the other paperwork for a standard license renewal, and pay the $24 renewal fee.
Any time you seek to have your license restored, you bear the burden of showing your suspension is over. This means you may need to bring paperwork showing you have paid your fines and that your suspension period ended. If you do not have adequate proof, your renewal might be delayed.
Usually, the MVC will mail out a notice that your suspension is ending with information about how to renew your license. If you have any problems or questions, talk to a license suspension attorney for help.
License Suspension and Restoration Information for DWIs in New Jersey
After your license is restored, you may face additional supervision and fees from the MVC. The State of New Jersey subscribes to the view that driving is a privilege, not a right. As such, there are often additional payments you need to make to get your license back.
The first payment you must make is the license restoration fee. This fee is set at $100, which is quite high for an administrative fee (compared to the $24 fee for a license renewal). This fee may bar some people from getting their license restored if the fee is too high.
After a DWI offense, the MVC also charges you with annual surcharges. To keep your license, you must continue to pay the MVC $1,000 per year for 3 years. For a third DWI, this fee is upgraded to $1,500 per year. These total payments of $3,000 to $4,500 on top of the fines, fees, and penalties you already paid for your DWI charge make a DWI offense quite expensive.
If you are unable to afford the ongoing fees, your license will be suspended again. This can occur after any missed payment, so you could face suspension after already paying the annual surcharge once or twice. If you move or miss the mailed notice of your surcharge, that might not be an acceptable excuse for not paying. Talk to an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about not paying surcharges.
In addition to these fees, your license is under probation during your first year after some suspensions. During this period, any traffic violation may result in a new license suspension. Talk to an attorney for additional information.
Atlantic City License Suspension Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one had their license suspended because of a DWI, it is important to understand how to get your license restored. It is also vital that you do not drive until your license is officially restored, even if the suspension period ended. Talk to an attorney for help with any issues you face regarding DWI and license suspension. The Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych are available for free consultations at (609) 616-4956.