Violations That Could Result in a Drivers License Suspension in New Jersey
You could end up with a suspended driving license in New Jersey for a number of reasons, but some of the most common reasons are due to demerit points, driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence. Additionally, once a driver’s license suspension has passed and a license has been restored, you will be placed on a one-year probation period if your suspension is due to demerit points or repeat violations. If an additional violation of any kind occurs within that one-year period, then you will receive another suspension and the term will be determined by how far into your probation period you were and how many violations you received.
Every traffic violation comes with its own set of demerit points, with some points being worth far more than others, such as reckless driving, racing, excessive speeding and the improper passing of a school bus. You will have your New Jersey drivers license suspended after you have received 12 or more points on your driving record. Fortunately, points will gradually fall off for long stretches of time without a violation or by participating in optional defensive driving and driver improvement programs. Unlike demerit points, a drivers license suspension will always occur should you be convicted of a DUI and an extended suspension will occur should you ever be caught driving with a suspended drivers license. If you are unsure about your violation, then you can always check drivers license suspension status online or by contacting the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC).
Understanding Annual Surcharges
A suspended drivers license is not the only thing you should be worried about after committing traffic violations in New Jersey. Even if you have not yet received a drivers license suspension, the state of New Jersey provides surcharges on an annual basis to any driver who has accumulated six or more demerit points against his or her driving record within a three-year period or who has committed specific offenses. When you receive a surcharge, no matter the reason, you will need to pay this surcharge for a minimum of three years on an annual basis. These fees can quickly add up, as they can range anywhere from $100 a year to $1,500 a year.
Of the reasons for surcharges, driving with a suspended license and driving while under the influence are by far the most severe. Additionally, surcharges can result in drivers license suspensions, because if you refuse to pay your surcharges, then the state of New Jersey will suspend your driving privileges. Your suspended driver license will remain so until you have met a minimum surcharge amount as well as an additional drivers license reinstatement fee, so it is important to make payments on time to avoid fees accumulating.
If you were incarcerated for driving with a suspended license or any other reason, then these annual fees will continue to incur. Should you still refuse to pay your surcharges, the state will file a certificate of debt against you and will collect your unpaid surcharges without your consent in the form of wage garnishment. Additionally, collection costs and an interest rate will be applied to your surcharge debt.
You may be able to avoid a drivers license suspension due to unpaid surcharges by setting up a payment plan. If eligible, then you may be able to have installments applied for up to a six-month period.
Consequences for Driving With a Suspended License in New Jersey
If you have received a suspended drivers license due to a violation, then do not attempt to operate a motor vehicle during your suspension. Unlike other states, New Jersey does not provide a provisional drivers license, commonly referred to as a hardship license, which would allow you to drive to and from work or school. However, this does not mean that driving with a suspended license is ever a good idea. The state takes this violation very seriously and you will find yourself faced with severe consequences should you be caught by a law enforcement officer. If you drive with a suspended license in New Jersey, then you could face fines, annual surcharges and even a prison sentence.
Reinstating Drivers License in New Jersey
If you have received a suspended drivers license in New Jersey for traffic violations or failing to pay state surcharges, then it is important to understand what will be expected of you in order to have your license reinstated. You may only reinstate drivers license credentials after your suspension period has passed, which will vary depending on the reason for it. The exception to the rule is if your driver’s license suspension was the result of having failed to pay your annual surcharges. For these types of suspensions, a drivers license restoration can only proceed after you have satisfied the minimum surcharge amount and paid your reinstatement fees.
For other reasons for a drivers license suspension, you will need to satisfy the requirements that coincide with your specific violation. In general, this means paying all of your traffic tickets or related fines. A driver’s license reinstatement fee will also be required to lift your suspension. Some violations may require that you provide proof of insurance or attend a defensive driving course, driver’s improvement course or probationary driver program at your own expense. If your New Jersey driving license suspension was due to a conviction of a DUI, then you may also be required to attend the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and have an ignition interlock device installed on your motor vehicle to prevent your vehicle from starting should your BAC exceed 0.08 percent.