If you are facing a traffic violation for driving without a license in Somerset County, NJ, Keith Oliver Criminal Law can work on dismissing or reducing the citation. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction could lead to significant fines, points on your license, and even imprisonment. We can negotiate with the prosecutor in your case in an effort to avoid these negative outcomes.
Our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience in Somerset County traffic courts and can put this experience to work on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation with a lawyer for driving without a valid license.
New Jersey Laws Regarding Driving Without a License
There are two main laws that cover driving without a license in New Jersey:
- J.S.A. § 39:3-10 — This statute lays out the general rules regarding driver’s licensure in New Jersey. It states that no one may operate a motor vehicle on a public highway without a driver’s license, with limited exceptions.
- J.S.A. § 39:3-40 — This law establishes that no one with a suspended or revoked license may operate a vehicle until their driving privileges have been restored.
What Happens If You Get Caught Driving Without a License?
The details of your traffic stop may influence a law enforcement officer’s immediate response to driving with no license. If you simply do not have your physical license on you, the law enforcement officer may:
- Issue a citation
- Tell you to get your license as soon as possible and not drive again without your license in your vehicle
A law enforcement officer could place you under arrest but may take a more empathetic approach and only issue a minor citation. However, if you have a suspended, revoked, or nonexistent license, the police officer may:
- Issue a more serious citation
- Place you under arrest
- Tell you to have a friend or relative get the vehicle
- Impound the vehicle
Penalties for Driving Without a License in New Jersey
Violating N.J.S.A. § 39:3-10 can lead to a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment in county jail for up to 60 days. If the violator has never had a valid driver’s license, they will be fined a minimum of $200 and must wait at least 180 days before they can receive a driver’s license.
N.J.S.A. § 39:3-40 also details the potential penalties for driving without a valid license, which include:
- For a first offense — A fine of $500 and revocation of driving privileges
- For a second offense — A fine of $750, imprisonment in county jail for one to five days, and revocation of driving privileges
- For a third offense — A fine of $1,000, imprisonment in county jail for ten days, and revocation of driving privileges
If a court convicts you of driving without a license, it may suspend your driving privileges for up to six months. The penalties you face will depend on the specific details of your citation, such as whether it is a second offense that occurred within five years of your prior offense. If you cause bodily injury to another person while driving without a valid license, you could face 45 to 180 days in county jail and other legal ramifications.
Several other details in this statute could lead to more severe consequences if they apply to your case. Driving without a license in a school zone or allowing someone to use your car without a valid license are unique circumstances that could trigger such legal penalties.
Do You Need a Lawyer If You Get Caught Driving Without a License in Somerset?
Legally, you can serve as your own defense against a citation for driving without a license in Somerset, New Jersey. However, a lawyer from Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help you in several ways, including:
- Gathering all evidence related to your citation— Our team can determine why the law enforcement officer pulled you over, how they interacted with you, and how you responded to their questioning. If the police officer violated your rights in any way, this fact could warrant the dismissal of your citation.
- Determining why you did not have your license— In some cases, extenuating circumstances can lead the court to reduce your charges or drop them entirely. One is if you had an emergency that caused you to leave the house without your license. If your license was suspended, you could show that you were unaware of that fact.
- Crafting a legal strategy to try to dismiss or reduce your citation— Once we have all the details of your citation, we’ll identify the target outcome for your traffic case. A dismissal may be a reasonable goal if you simply forgot your license before driving. Reducing the severity of legal sanctions may be a more realistic target if you had a suspended or revoked license. We will develop our legal strategy based on the unique details of your case.
- Preventing you from accepting an unfair plea deal or facing an avoidable conviction— We protect our clients from heavy-handed prosecutors who may try to talk them into accepting a conviction without a fight. We will advocate for the best possible outcome in your case so that a prosecutor or judge cannot impose an unfair judgment upon you.