Alternatives To Jail For Driving While Suspended For Multiple DUI Charges?
- April 22, 2015
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Driving while suspended for a second or subsequent driving under the influence (DUI) (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) charge in New Jersey now carries a 180 day mandatory minimum jail term. Since N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b) was enacted on August 1, 2011, drivers sentenced to the mandatory minimum 180 days in jail without parole have been seeking alternative sentences. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b), it is a fourth-degree crime to operate a motor vehicle during a period of license suspension for a second or subsequent driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction or refusal to submit to chemical breath testing in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2. In State v. French, 437 N.J. Super 333 (App. Div. 2014) , the trial court sentenced French to 180 days in jail, but allowed for up to 90 days of the sentence to be served in an inpatient treatment facility. The NJ Appellate Division held that sentences other that incarceration were not what the Legislature contemplated in enacting the statute and refused to find opportunity for flexibility in sentencing. In State v. Harris, John D. Harris, III, was sentenced to 180 days but allowed to serve his sentence on the Home Electronic Detention System (HEDS) program. The State appealed the sentence and the NJ Appellate Division upheld the courts finding in French finding that the Legislative intent of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b) was to protect the public from those who would continue to drive after multiple DUI convictions. Although there is likely to be further litigation regarding other alternatives to incarceration, including diversionary programs, for driving while suspended for DWI the present state of the law is that you will serve 180 days in jail for this offense. If you are facing charges of DUI, DWI or driving while suspended for these charges you are facing significant periods of license suspension and the possibility of jail. It is critical that you obtain experienced criminal defense counsel to protect your rights. For more information about DUI, DWI, driving while under the influence of drugs (DUID), driving while suspended for DUI, controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in a motor vehicle or other serious traffic related charges in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.