Warrants, License Suspension, Failure to Appear…How to Resolve it.

I just completed another driving while suspended matter in the Newark Municipal Court, where the underlying suspension was as a result of failure to appear and unpaid traffic violations in other New Jersey Courts.

The problems that a defendant faces with these suspensions issue are numerous. First, driving privileges can not restore until the underlying court cases are resolved. This could be one issue or many. There may be warrants that require the posting of bail. The matters will need be put back on the docket. Frequently, my clients have serious time constraints because they can not restore their license and they have to work. Before hiring me, they typically have made some attempt to try to resolve it themselves, but quickly realize the bureaucratic quagmire they are in. They can’t get straight answers from the courts and do not have a solid grasp on which courts still have a hold on their license.

I in no way want to dissuade an individual from trying to figure out how to fix the mess, but they should be aware. Unrepresented individuals in this type of situation typically leave many loose ends, and although they may think that the problem is resolved, they quickly find out that it requires more and more and more.

I have handled so many of these types of cases that I know how to gather all the issues under one umbrella. Depending on the number of courts involved, it could be resolved quickly or it may take some time. For example, I just finished a case for a client who had received a suspended license ticket in Newark for unresolved tickets in East Orange and Irvington. He tried to do it himself. After months of trying, it did not work and his license remained suspended. He hired me and I was able to get him back on the docket in all three courts within a week and the cases resolved in two weeks. His license was restored the day after we were finished.

Additionally, I saved him from an additional 180 days of suspension. Here is how. When he was issued the ticket in Irvington, his license was suspended because of another failure to appear in East Orange. However, he was not issued a ticket in Irvington for suspended license, only a moving violation. I knew his license was suspended at that time because I requested a certified driver abstract and reviewed it. He was planning on going to court and pleading guilty to the offense just to get it “over with”. If he had done that, the motor vehicle commission would have independently suspended his license for 6 months because he was operating during a period of suspension and would have admitted to doing so by pleading guilty to the careless driving ticket. I was able to negotiate a non-moving violation plea, and avoid this.

And, although he had several other driving while suspended tickets on his record, I was able to convince the prosecutor that the priors could not be used to enhance his sentence with the present offense. In fact, the driving while suspended ticket in Newark was amended to a document violation, thus avoiding surcharges, suspensions, and possible jail time.

Listen, it makes no sense to mess around with this stuff when so much is at stake. For most who live in NJ, WE NEED OUR LICENSE…can’t live without it. So do yourself a favor and talk to someone who knows before you go to court.

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