Driving While Administratively Suspended May Remain Indictable Offense

Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

State v. Perry et. al. is a case against several defendants that was consolidated for decision because the same legal issues were at play in all of the cases. It has to do with N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(a)(b) which makes driving while suspended a fourth degree criminal offense with a 180 jail term (mandatory). But what if the driving occurs after the term of suspension, but before reinstatement. This seems like a grey area. The defendant has served out their punishment, but their license is still administratively suspended. It’s a technicality. And on March 3, 2015 the Appellate Division held that as a result it is not a crime to drive without reinstatement of a license if the court-imposed term of suspension has passed. This is contrary to the State who argued that the statute “must be interpreted to mean that an individual can be charged until he or she pays the requisite license fees, complies with all administrative requirements, and is reinstated by the Motor Vehicles Commission.

However, on June 5, 2015 the State’s order for a stay was granted, but it was written that “any person who would be entitled to release under the Superior Court, Appellate Division’s judgment shall be released from incarceration during the pendency of the appeal

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