While DWI isn’t a technically considered a crime in New Jersey, and is instead prosecuted as a traffic offense, there are instances where DWI, and the subsequent license suspension that comes from conviction, can lead to a driver being charged with a felony.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26, a person who has been convicted of DWI or Refusal twice or more, and is driving on a suspended license based on that conviction, will be charged with a fourth degree crime if they are caught behind the wheel.
Penalties under 2C:40-26 are harsh.
You will be sentenced to a minimum of 180 days in jail with no eligibility for parole, and your driver’s license – which, remember, is currently suspended – will be suspended for an additional period, up to 30 months. Fines can exceed $1,250.
Clearly, this is a law designed to inflict as much hardship as possible on people who may have made mistakes but may also be trying to turn their lives around.
After all, getting to work and caring for one’s family are things that often require the use of a car.
If you’ve been charged under 2C:40-26, talk to a lawyer.
A felony conviction will make the rest of your life harder, and there are defenses and strategies that can be applied in every case.
If you’ve been arrested for driving while suspended as a fourth degree crime, call Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9661 for a free consultation.