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Driving While Suspended Charge Dismissed in New Brunswick

February 22, 2013

The Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf represented a client in February 2013 charged with driving with a suspended license under N.J.S.A. 39:3-40.  The client was charged with the offense in 1995 and failed to appear to in court to resolve the matter. The client’s driver’s license had originally been suspended due to an accumulation of points but had been extended due to prior convictions for driving while suspended.  Shortly after the offenses occurred, the client moved to Florida.  The unresolved ticket had not posed a problem until he went to renew his Florida license in 2011 and realized that a block had been placed on his license due to the unresolved matter.

The client had been convicted twice before of violating N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, which provides as follows regarding the penalties for a third offense:

c. Upon conviction for a third offense or subsequent offense, a fine of $ 1,000.00 and imprisonment in the county jail for 10 days. If the third or a subsequent offense involves the operation of a motor vehicle during a period when the violator’s driver’s license is suspended and the third or subsequent offense occurs within five years of a conviction for the same offense, revocation of the violator’s motor vehicle registration privilege in accordance with the provisions of sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286;

d. Upon conviction, the court shall impose or extend a period of suspension not to exceed six months;

Thus, as his third offense for driving on the suspended list, the client faced a fine of $1,000.00, a mandatory ten days in jail, and an additional driver’s license suspension of up to six months.

Because the case went back to 1995, the attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph Wolf knew it would be difficult for the State to prove its case.  While we learned that the arresting officer – now a lieutenant – was still available to testify on the State’s behalf, due to the lack of discovery evidence as well as the difficulty the officer would have in identifying the client and remembering the motor vehicle stop almost 20 years later, we were able to work out a favorable resolution.

The State agreed to dismissed all charges against the client (which also included a charge for failing to stop at a stop sign – a two point ticket in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-144) so long as the client plead guilty to contempt of court for failing to appear.  Contempt of court is a civil violation wherein the client basically just has to pay a fine to the court.  We were also able to work out the deal so that the client, who lives in Florida, was not required to appear.

In addition to the case in New Brunswick, the client retained our firm to represent him on charges of driving with a suspended license in both Point Pleasant and Mount Olive.  These charges occurred in 1994 and 1996, respectively.  The client similarly had failed to appear in court to resolve those matters.  Those cases will be heard in the next month.

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