Since having a car is often necessary for essential tasks such as going to and from work and taking your kids to school, you are likely to sympathize when a family member or friend loses their driving privileges. You may even feel inclined to let them use your car, especially if they are facing job loss or have a personal emergency. However, knowingly allowing a person with a suspended license in NJ to drive your car has serious legal consequences for you, as well as the driver.
Penalties for Letting Someone Drive Your Car on a Suspended License in NJ
One of the most serious consequences is a DWI conviction, which you could be facing if the person to whom you loaned your car is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although a DWI is not a criminal offense in New Jersey, the state has a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who is caught drunk driving, or facilitates an incident of drunk driving. According to the New Jersey DWI law, DWI penalties may be extended to “a person who… permits another person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody or control.” The penalties for a conviction include excessive fines, mandatory participation in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), the installation of an interlock ignition device in your car, and even time in jail. If you have a prior DWI, a conviction for letting an intoxicated individual drive your car may count as a subsequent DWI. Since penalties are enhanced with each DWI conviction, you are even more likely to be sentenced to a jail term, in addition to losing your license for up to 10 years.
When a Friend is in a Car Accident in Your Car
If your friend is driving your vehicle with a suspended license in NJ and is involved in a car accident with another driver, your insurance company will most likely reject any accident claim involving a driver who is not listed on your policy. You can easily end up experiencing financial hardship if the court orders you to compensate the other party for damages to their car and any other properties. If the accident results in personal injuries, you are facing even more serious consequences. Depending on the degree of injury, the driver may be convicted of assault by auto or vehicular manslaughter under New Jersey law. Although this charge applies specifically to the actual driver, you can still be sued in civil court under the state’s personal injury laws. Letting someone else drive your car while under the influence of alcohol can place you at fault.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you are facing charges for letting someone drive your car with a suspended license in NJ, you must seek legal advice right away. Please speak with the knowledgeable attorneys of Villani & DeLuca in order to determine the best course of action for resolving your charges. Our lawyers have extensive in trying DWI, criminal and personal injury cases throughout the court systems of Ocean and Monmouth counties. Please call (732) 965-3350 to schedule a free initial consultation!