Although many of us see driving as a right, it is legally considered a privilege – one that needs to be granted by passing a driver’s test and maintaining your license. If you never take a driver’s test or your license lapses or is revoked, you could get in serious trouble for driving without a license.
The New Jersey driving without a license attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych explain when driving without a license charges under N.J.S.A. § 39:3-10 apply and what the penalties for this offense are. For help with your case, call our lawyers today at (609) 616-4956 to schedule a free legal consultation and learn more about your potential case.
Charges for Driving Without a License in NJ
N.J.S.A. § 39:3-10 sets the licensing requirements for drivers in New Jersey. Generally speaking, everyone needs a driver’s license or a permit and a supervising driver to operate a car on the road in New Jersey. Other vehicles, such as motorcycles or commercial trucks, might have other licensing requirements, and vehicles like electric scooters or bikes might not need a license even though they are considered “vehicles.” This law also means that you might not need a license to drive a car on private property. However, if you are caught on the road without a license, you could be charged with this offense.
This law is contained within Title 39 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes, which is the Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation title. This means that these charges are not technically criminal charges, but serious traffic charges like this are charged just like criminal charges and are best handled with the help of an experienced lawyer.
Charges for driving without a license in New Jersey usually come from three main situations. First, drivers who never got a license in the first place could be charged. This would include drivers who are too young to get a license as well as drivers who could have a license but never passed (or perhaps never even applied for) a driver’s test. Second, drivers could face charges for driving without a license if their license was revoked or lapsed. In some cases, this may be charged as driving with a suspended license instead, but if the license was revoked instead of suspended, then these charges might apply instead. Additionally, driving with an expired license is usually different from driving without a license.
The third situation where these charges might be issued is a bit of a technicality. It is illegal to drive without a license, but if you are a licensed driver, you might still face these charges if you do not have your license with you while you are driving. Even though police might be able to look up your license and see that you are a licensed driver, you could still be charged. Fortunately, there are often ways to have these charges cleared up.
Penalties for Driving Without a License in New Jersey
If you are stopped by police and issued a ticket for driving without a license, your first penalty will typically be that the police officer will not let you drive away. This may mean that your vehicle needs to be towed or impounded unless there is another licensed driver that can drive the car. This could create significant hassle and potential towing fees for you.
Beyond those issues, the charges for driving without a license under N.J.S.A. § 39:3-10 can carry fines and jail time. Anyone charged with driving without a license can be fined up to $500. In addition, they could face up to 60 days in jail for the offense. Even though this is not a criminal offense, the potential jail time and fines make it a serious offense that is often worth hiring a lawyer for.
If you never had a license in the first place, the fine carries a mandatory minimum. Typically, this fine has only an upward limit of $500, which means that a judge could set the fine at $0, $5, or anywhere else up to $500. If you never had a license in the first place, the statute sets a minimum fine of $200. Moreover, the motor vehicle commission will be ordered to refuse your application for a driver’s license for at least 180 days (about 6 months). This means that if you were planning on getting a license, your ability to do so will be suspended on top of the fines and penalties.
If you have a valid license, but you simply did not have it on you, these harsh fines may be inappropriate. Police are often willing to leave licensed drivers off with a warning if they forget their license at home, lost it, or had it stolen. If they do issue you a ticket and charge you with driving without a license, judges or police officers are often willing to dismiss or drop the charges if you come to court with your license and proof that it was valid when you were pulled over.
One of the most essential parts of fighting charges for driving without a license is that you do not drive to your court date. If you show up to court having driven there and you still don’t have a valid license, you could face a second set of charges for driving without a license.
Call Our NJ Lawyer for Driving Without a License Charges Today
If your license was revoked or you never had a license in the first place, charges for driving without a license can set you back a substantial fine and potentially lead to jail time. For help with your charges, call our New Jersey driving without a license lawyers today for a free consultation. You can reach the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 to set up your free legal consultation.