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New Penalties for Driving While Suspended

New Penalties for Driving While Suspended

Effective August 1, 2011 driving a motor vehicle in New Jersey after your license has been suspended has become a criminal offense under certain circumstances. N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26 currently makes it a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle if your license is suspended for a DWI or a Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test. Specifically the statute provides:

a. It shall be a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension in violation of R.S.39:3-40, if the actor’s license was suspended or revoked for a first violation of R.S. 39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a) and the actor had been convicted of violating R.S.39:3-40 while under suspension for that first offense. A person convicted of an offense under this subsection shall be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment.

b. It shall be a crime of the fourth degree to operate a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension in violation of R.S.39:3-40, if the actor’s license was suspended or revoked for a second or subsequent violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a). A person convicted of an offense under this subsection shall be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment.

c. Notwithstanding the term of imprisonment provided under N.J.S.2C:43-6 and the provisions of subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-1, if a person is convicted of a crime under this section the sentence imposed shall include a fixed minimum sentence of not less than 180 days during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.

Municipal Court Judges and Prosecutors will be reviewing violations of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 (Driving While Suspended) to determine if a charge under the new criminal statute applies. This new statute applies if the charge would be a second offense of driving while suspended for a first violation of the DWI or Refusal statutes or a first violation of driving while suspended for a second or subsequent violation of the DWI or Refusal statutes.

If the new statute is applicable you have a right to a jury trial on the charge.

Any conviction under this statute carries a minimum mandatory jail sentence of six months in the county jail. The maximum period of incarceration is 18 months in state prison. This incarceration is in addition to the fines and additional license suspension that you would incur as a result of the conviction for the related traffic offense.

Please contact us at 856-637-3000 in the event you need legal advice involving motor vehicle violations or other Municipal Court offenses.

– Peter J. Bonfiglio, III

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Joseph J. Hoffman, Jr.
Senior Partner

For more than 40 years, Mr. Hoffman has protected the interest of his clients through diligence and hard work on legal matters, both large and small. An honors graduate of Rutgers University Law School and a native of Gloucester County, Mr. Hoffman has won numerous accolades for excellence in the practice of law.

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Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Sr.
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An attorney with over 45 years of professional experience, Mr. DiMuzio concentrates his practice on personal injury and workers’ compensation matters. A graduate of Georgetown University Law School and a native of Gloucester County, Mr. DiMuzio has been honored time and again for his professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.

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Ernest L. Alvino, Jr.
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About Ernest L. Alvino, Jr. concentrates his practice in the area of workplace injuries; construction accidents; product injuries; trucking accidents; auto injuries; medical negligence and crime victim advocacy. Ernie is a lifelong Gloucester County resident, living in Mullica Hill with his wife and children. Ernie worked his way through school as a Teamster and construction…

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Jeremiah J. Atkins
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About Mr. Atkins joined the firm of Hoffman DiMuzio in February 2010. Mr. Atkins represents individuals and corporate clients in commercial and employment litigation. Mr. Atkins’ practice covers a wide variety of employment-related matters before New Jersey State and Federal courts, with a focus on discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, family leave and whistleblowing claims. Mr.…

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Peter J. Bonfiglio, III
Attorney

About Mr. Bonfiglio concentrates his practice in the area of municipal court with an emphasis on defense of individuals charged with driving while intoxicated and/or refusal to submit to a breath test. Pete resides in Gloucester Township, Camden County with his wife and two of his three children.  In addition to his law practice, he…

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