NJ Driving While Suspended and Jail Sentences
Several years ago, the State of New Jersey made certain driving while suspended as a result of a DUI offenses into indictable crimes. Essentially, if you drive while suspended twice for your first DUI or if you drive while suspended just ONCE for a second or subsequent DUI offense, you can be charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26.
This is a Fourth Degree crime for which you can be sentenced to up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and 180 days of that MUST be served before you become eligible for parole. Previously, some prosecutors and judges would agree to allowing a person convicted of this offense to serve that 180 days on the weekends or via day reporting.
Yesterday, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a decision addressing this issue. The Court ruled that the mandatory period of 180 days of jail CANNOT be served intermittently with either day reporting or weekends. That time must be served consecutively for 180 days straight. See State v. Rodriguez.
Of course, this is disappointing for many defendants and defense attorneys. We understand it can be incredibly difficult for individuals to serve this time with family and job responsibilities. This case makes it that much more important to ensure all available defenses are utilized in defending a charge of Driving While Suspended and Driving While Under the Influence. If you have been charged with either of these offenses, you should consult with an experienced attorney to address the matter fully.