Many clients ask when can my license be suspended for a Motor Vehicle Violation ?
The Answer to this question is not simple but certain guiding principles control the issue. First a Municipal Judge has wide discretion in imposing a License Suspension Penalty. Driving is a privilege and not a right in New Jersey. Anytime a Judge finds that a driver intentionally disregarded a motor vehicle statute a License Suspension may be imposed. This is true for Reckless Driving Violations, Speeding Violations, and even Careless Driving Violations. Under NJSA 39:5-31 a Municipal Judge can revoke and suspend the driver's license for any willful disregard of the Motor Vehicle Statutes. Second, certain violations such as Driving While Intoxicated and Refusing to Submit to a Breath or Urine Sample carry mandatory license suspensions and jail terms.
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NEW JERSEY LICENSE SUSPENSION LAWYER
STEVEN P. LOMBARDI, ESQ.
The court must first engage in what is known as a Moran analysis which was decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2010. In State v Moran the Supreme Court decided that a Municipal or Law Division Judge must consider the following factors. The driver in Moran was convicted of Reckless driving, however even a Careless Driving conviction or plea can result in jail time or license suspension as recently determined in the case of State v Palma when certain aggravating factors are present.
The Supreme Court directs Municipal Court and Law Division judges to consider the following factors in determining whether to impose a license suspension under N.J.S.A. 39:5-31, and, if so, the length of the suspension: 1) the nature and circumstances of the defendant's conduct, including whether the conduct posed a high risk of danger to the public or caused physical harm or property damage; 2) the defendant's driving record, including the defendant's age and length of time as a licensed driver, and the number, seriousness, and frequency of prior infractions; 3) whether the defendant was infraction-free for a substantial period before the most recent violation or whether the nature and extent of the defendant's driving record indicates that there is a substantial risk that he or she will commit another violation; 4) whether the character and attitude of the defendant indicates that he or she is likely or unlikely to commit another violation; 5) whether the defendant's conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur; 6) whether a license suspension would cause excessive hardship to the defendant and/or dependents; and 7) the need for personal deterrence. Any other relevant factors clearly identified by the court also may be considered. Comparisons to motor vehicle statutes that impose mandatory license suspensions also may be a useful guide in some cases. It is not necessarily the number of factors that apply but the weight to be attributed to a factor or factors. The municipal court or Superior Court judge must articulate the reasons for imposing a period of license suspension. The above will enhance appellate review and be a further safeguard against arbitrariness of sentencing.
Suspension by the Motor Vehicle Commission
Your License can also be suspended by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for certain offenses involving the death of another in an accident caused by a driver regardless of the sentence imposed by a Municipal Judge. Under NJSA 39:5-30 the Director of the MVC may suspend the license of any individual who causes the death of another if accompanied by a violation of certain statutes.
Steven P. Lombardi is a highly experienced New Jersey Ticket Attorney. He is a Ticket Lawyer practicing in all New Jersey Municipal Courts.