New Case Permits Weekend Sentences For Driving While Suspended

On April 12, 2018, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued a decision that dramatically alters the sentencing provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26, Operating a Motor Vehicle During Period of License Suspension (Fourth Degree).

Ordinarily, driving while a license is suspended is a motor vehicle ticket, albeit one of the more serious tickets in New Jersey.  However, in 2011 the New Jersey Legislature made driving while suspended a Felony when (1) the suspension stems from either a second or subsequent DWI conviction, or (2) the defendant has previously been convicted of driving while suspended for the same DWI conviction.  The Statue requires a defendant to be sentenced to a minimum of 180 days of incarceration.  The courts have already rejected arguments that this Statute permits Home Electronic Monitoring (ankle bracelet) sentences.

In State v. Rodriguez, the court addressed the issue of whether the Statute permits “weekend” sentences, wherein the defendant is incarcerated for a continuous period of 24-48 hours during the weekend, and then released for week.  The Prosecutor argued that such a sentence was not permitted under the Statute, but the Appellate Division disagreed, and held that “weekend” sentences were permissible.   However, each County’s Jail has different criteria and logistical mechanisms for “weekend” sentences, so it is important that this issue is addressed prior to sentencing.

In any Felony or Municipal Court case, it is important to retain an attorney who is familiar with the nuance and intricacies of the rapidly developing case law and will aggressively fight to obtain the best possible result.  The attorneys at Rosenberg | Perry & Associates include two (2) former Assistant Prosecutors who are Certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as Criminal Trial Attorneys.  Please call for a free consultation.