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It Is Advisable to Retain an Attorney before the Penalties for Driving While Suspended Begin to Compound

For a second offense, all of the above occurs, but the fine is $750 and you go to jail up to five days. A third offense, all that will occur again, except the fine is $1,000, and you go to jail for 10 days, not up to, but 10 days. People start coming to me when the penalties become more and more severe.

For fifth, sixth, seventh offense, the judge can tack on 10 days to each one of the priors after the third offense. Your third offense could be 10 days jail, fourth can be 20, fifth can be 30, and so on.

Interviewer: Do you see people that keep doing it?

Ron Mondello: Yes, I have. I have a lot of clients that have come to me, and they have accumulated nine driving while suspended infractions. Depending on the court, I can usually keep them out of jail. It really depends.

Prosecutors will push for Serious Penalties for Repeat Offenders

It starts to get very, very difficult because the prosecutor says this individual just doesn’t listen. He doesn’t learn. He’s thumbing his nose at the law. You know what? That may not exactly be the case. People need their license to drive. They need to get to work. They need to pay mortgages. They need to put food on the table. More often than not, it’s an economic reason why people are driving, not necessarily just thumbing their nose at the law.

New Jersey Law Does Not Provide for Occupational or Hardship Licenses

Interviewer: If you have your license suspended for any reason, can you get a hardship or an occupational license so you can drive?

Ron Mondello: There’s no such thing in New Jersey. It does exist in New York. You can get a license to drive to and from work in New York. In New Jersey, that proposition has been placed on the legislative table a dozen times, and it always gets pushed off. There’s no provision for a work license, none whatsoever.

There is some pending legislation for a first DWI. Instead of losing your license, just installing the ignition interlock device, which is a device that you have to blow into, make sure there’s no alcohol on your breath. If there is, the car won’t start. If there isn’t, the car will start. It’s just proposed legislation and it would be a miracle if something like that passes in New Jersey.

By Ronald P. Mondello