License suspensions in New Jersey can happen for many different reasons. From drunk driving to accumulating traffic ticket points, you can lose your driving privileges if you violate the state’s strict traffic laws. If you had your driver’s license suspended, it is essential to avoid driving any vehicle while the suspension is underway. If you get caught behind the steering wheel while suspended, you can face severe penalties. Many suspended drivers in New Jersey may wonder whether they can go to jail for driving without a license. Our New Jersey driving without a license lawyers from The Law Offices of John J. Zarych, invite you to keep reading as we discuss this critical question.
What Happens if I Drive Without a License in New Jersey?
Generally, any person who operates a vehicle in New Jersey must have a valid driver’s license. The law requires the driver to have their driver’s license in their immediate possession at all times. As in many other states, it is illegal for a driver to operate their car without their license. If the police pull you over, and you are found to be driving without a valid license, you can face severe consequences. Some of the potential penalties you may face include jail time and criminal fines.
The extent and severity of your penalties for driving without a license can increase depending on your specific circumstances. For example, if you are caught driving without a valid driver’s license, and the police find that you were driving under the influence (D.U.I.), you can face enhanced criminal penalties. The same can happen if you cause an accident involving injuries, property loss, or death.
New Jersey’s traffic laws are very serious, and facing charges or a conviction for violating these laws can have lasting consequences. It is essential to hire a skilled New Jersey traffic violation defense attorney who can help you along the way.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License in New Jersey?
As mentioned, New Jersey’s traffic laws are very strict. Drivers will face severe consequences if found driving without a valid license. If you have a valid driver’s license, but it is not in your immediate presence, it can also lead to penalties. However, suppose you don’t have a driver’s license, either because it was suspended or revoked and get caught driving anyway. In that case, you can face severe penalties, including jail time and criminal fines.
Under N.J.S.A. § 39:3-40, there are different penalties for drivers who are caught driving without a valid license. For instance, if you are a first offender, you can face a $500 fine. If you are caught driving without a valid driver’s license a second time, you can face up to $750 in fines and up to five days in jail. A second traffic violation of this nature can have more severe consequences if your second offense happens within five years of your previous conviction. If this is the case, you can lose your driver’s license completely. Any other subsequent offense can lead to $1,000 in fines and up to ten days in jail.
You can face additional potentially-devastating consequences if you are involved in an accident causing injuries to another driver. If you cause an accident resulting in bodily injury without a driver’s license, you can spend up to six months in jail and face steep fines.
Finally, the most serious criminal charges for driving with a suspended license in New Jersey can be found under N.J.S.A. § 2C:40-26. Under this statute, you are banned from driving a car legally if your license was suspended due to driving under the influence (DUI). If you are caught driving for a second DUI violation without a valid driver’s license, you can face up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines (fourth-degree crime).
Can a Lawyer Help You Avoid Charges for Driving Without a License in New Jersey
Defending yourself against charges for driving without a valid driver’s license in New Jersey is possible. Typically, the prosecution has the burden of proving you actually were driving without your driver’s license. Generally, this is not a heavy burden of proof, since it can be easy to prove you were not in actual possession of your driver’s license. However, some arguments can be made to persuade the court to re-evaluate or reconsider your charges.
For instance, you can argue you didn’t have your license with you at the time the police stopped you because of an emergency. In this case, you should provide the court with proof of your emergency in order to defend yourself successfully, and charges could be dropped entirely.
Another type of defense available in this type of case is having a valid driver’s license from another state. This can give room to a potential defense against charges for not having a state-issued driver’s license. However, it is essential to understand that the court will zealously protect the state’s law, and if the prosecution can meet their burden of proof, you may be convicted of driving without a valid license.
Nevertheless, this does not mean you will be punished with the full extent of the law. It is possible to enter in negotiations with the prosecution in order to have your sentence and penalties reduced. It is essential to hire an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who understands what it takes to defend your interests successfully.
New Jersey Traffic Violation Attorney Offering Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was stopped by the police and charged with driving without a valid license in New Jersey, we can help. Our skilled Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych can help you understand what you can expect from your case. We will fight aggressively and strategically to uphold your rights at all times. Facing New Jersey’s criminal justice system can be overwhelming. However, you don’t have to go through this challenging time alone. Call our law offices today and schedule your free, confidential consultation. Our phone number is (609) 616-4956.