New Jersey has recently upgraded a motor vehicle violation of Driving While on the Revoked List as a result of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI/DUI) conviction, from a motor vehicle offense to a Fourth Degree crime, punishable by up to 18 months in jail.
Pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:40-26, Operating a Motor Vehicle during Period of License Suspension, it is now a 4th Degree indictable/felony offense if you have had your license suspended for a second or subsequent DWI/DUI, with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 180 days during which time you will not be eligible for parole. This means if you are arrested for Driving While on the Revoked List, with the revocation being the result of a Guilty finding to a second or subsequent DWI, you must got to state prison for a minimum of 180 days.
A number of potential defense strategies that could avoid your having to face a felony conviction for driving during a period of suspension.
(1) If you have not previously been convicted of any indictable offense, it may be possible to apply to the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI Program). This is where, if accepted, you are placed on a form of probation from 1 to 3 years in which you must do community service and/or pay fines and penalties. If you successfully complete the Program, then the criminal charges are dismissed.
What is vital is to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who is a recognized expert in this field to conduct your defense to be aware of the fact that entry into the PTI Program does not require a guilty plea. The "argument" is made that since a guilty plea is not required, it does not trigger the mandatory period of parole ineligibility or mandatory state prison term that the statute requires. However, this issue is currently being litigated because the State of New Jersey, through the county prosecutors office or Attorney Generals office, is taking the position that PTI is not available for this 4th Degree crime because the penalty requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility.
Joseph D. Rotella, Esq., 744 Broad Street, Suite 1520, Newark, NJ 07102, a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney, and recognized as one of the top Criminal Defense attorneys in New Jersey, is extremely familiar and knowledgeable with possible defenses to resolve your matter in a manner as favorable as possible so that your life is not disrupted by a felony conviction.
The operation of a motor vehicle during a period of license suspension has recently been made a felony/indictable offense and, as such, anyone charged with driving while suspended (also known as driving on the revoked list), and if that revocation was as a result of a DWI/DUI, you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Mr. Rotella.
Mr. Rotella is designated by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney, and is Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Criminal Trial Advocate. He is also the current President of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey (ACDL-NJ). He has the experience, knowledge, expertise and reputation for successfully defending these types of matters.