Driving While Suspended For DUI Without the DUI?
- July 21, 2014
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In deciding State v. Suzanne Sylvester, the court held that driving while suspended for a second or subsequent driving under the influence (DUI) charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26b is a 4th degree crime even in the event the underlying DUI suspension is later vacated. Sylvester was convicted in the Somerset County Superior Court of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26b and sentenced to a 3 year probationary term with a mandatory minimum incarceration of 180 days without parole. Sylvester had been convicted of DUI in 1991, 1992 and in Mendham Municipal Court in 2011. It was during the suspension for the 2011 DUI when the defendant was charged with driving while suspended. Although Sylvester was permitted to rely on a sentencing step-down afforded under State v. Laurick, 120 N.J. 1 (1990) due to the lapse of time between her second and third DUI convictions, the Appellate Division found that Defendant was aware of a valid suspension at the time she drove and therefore the conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26b was also valid. In upholding the decision of the court below, the NJ Appellate Division relied on the earlier decision in State v. Gandhi, 201 N.J. 161 (2010) wherein the court established that a defendant violating N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26b shall not be entitled to relief from conviction in the event the DUI is later vacated. If you are found guilty of driving while suspended for a second or subsequent DUI, you may be punished under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26b which bears minimum penalties of 180 days in jail and an additional 1 year loss of license. For more information about driving while suspended for DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a motor vehicle or other serious driving offenses visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.