Generally, if you’re caught driving on a suspended license in New Jersey, you’ll be ticketed, face fines, and have your license suspension extended.
It’s bad, but it’s hardly the end of the world.
There are times when the state has opted to throw the book at drivers whose licenses have been suspended though, even convicting them of a low-level felony.
Under the terms of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26, drivers whose license has been suspended after a second or subsequent DWI or Refusal charge will be prosecuted on a fourth degree charge, and face imprisonment for 180 days with no eligibility for parole.
Your license will also be suspended for a further 12 to 30 months upon the conclusion of the current period of suspension. Fines can run over $1,250.
Obviously, this is very bad news for a subset of drivers who’ve had a troubled history with alcohol and police.
The law has been in place since 2011, and even when it passed, it was considered controversial.
DWI itself is not a felony, or even, under the laws of New Jersey, a crime (it’s a traffic offense), nor is driving on a suspended license considered a crime.
Under the magic of 2C:40-26, the combination of the two and status of repeated offense makes it one, and if convicted, your whole life will change.
People with felony records often struggle to find and keep work and can be barred from certain public benefits.
If you’ve been charged under 2C:40-26, you need a lawyer. Call Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9661 for your free consultation with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.