Under New Jersey state law, in order to legally operate a motor vehicle, it is required that the operator have a valid driver’s license. If a person is caught driving without a license, there are many applicable charges to the offense and it can include hefty fines and as many as 60 days in jail.
There are sometimes mitigating circumstances for driving without a license, such as being unaware that the license had been suspended or revoked, mistakenly believing one’s foreign driver’s license was valid in the U.S., or an emergency that made it unavoidable to drive illegally.
Driving without a valid license in New Jersey can lead to the aforementioned penalties as well as others if the individual never had a driver’s license in New Jersey or anywhere else. For example, if there is a conviction, the accused person will be fined an amount of at least $200 and will not be allowed to get their driver’s license for six months after the conviction.
Defense for Driving Without a License in NJ
Oftentimes, a person might not have known that their license was suspended or had been revoked. Accruing a certain number of points on one’s license for a variety of traffic offenses in New Jersey—like DUI, running a stop sign, speeding—will eventually result in the suspension of the license. This generally occurs after 12 or more points were placed on the license. It’s quite possible that the driver didn’t know he or she had the driver’s license suspended and was unknowingly driving without a valid license. In other circumstances, the license might have been suspended because of a separate issues, such as not appearing in court on a scheduled date or for failure to pay child support.
Immigrants might be under the impression that because they had a valid driver’s license in another country, that they also are legally able to drive in the United States. If the person is a visitor, they should get an international driving permit to drive legally in New Jersey. If the person is a resident, they must get a New Jersey driver’s license to drive legally in the state.
In the event of an emergency, it will still be illegal for a person without a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle, but if the situation is serious enough, then there might be a reduction or dismissal of the charges for driving without a license.
Contact a Qualified Attorney if Caught Driving Without a License
The punishments for driving without a license can be expensive and have long-term consequences. If the individual is charged with driving without a license, they will be subject to fines ranging from $200 and up, with potential jail time of up to two months, and the inability to have a driver’s license for as many as 180 days from the time of conviction.
If you were charged with driving without a valid New Jersey driver’s license in Monmouth County or Ocean County, you should seek legal help from the law firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. An experienced traffic law attorney can evaluate your case and help fight for a reduced penalty based on your circumstances. Call today for your free consultation!