Persons found guilty in New Jersey of cocaine possession, cocaine distribution, cocaine possession with intent to distribute, manufacturing cocaine, or possession of drug parpahernalia are subject to loss of their driver's license. If the person has a New Jersey driver's license, it will be suspended. If the person has a driver's license from another State, the court will not take away that person's license. The court will, however, take away that person's right to drive in New Jersey. New Jersey will also report that action to the person's home state. That state, in return, may take administrative action against the person's driver's license in that state.

When the court suspends the New Jersey driving privileges, those privileges are not restored automatically upon conclusion of the suspension period. Rather, the person must specifically apply to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for restoration. In connection with that application, the person must pay a $100.00 restoration fee. This requirement exists for New Jersey residents as well as for persons licensed by other states.

Suspension of driving privileges is not limited to adults. It applies equally to juveniles adjudicated delinquent for cocaine-related offenses. When suspension is imposed, it will be for a minimum of six months. It can be for up to two years. Persons convicted of multiple cocaine convictions at the same time are exposed to only a single suspension of driving privileges.

The statute that discusses loss of driving privileges upon conviction is N.J.S. 2C:35-16. That statute is not limited to cocaine. It applies to all drug convictions in New Jersey. However, it does not to convictions for conspiracy to commit a cocaine- or drug related violation.

As originally adopted in 1987, suspension upon conviction was mandatory. Thus the New Jersey Legislature required payment of fines and other penalties upon conviction but, by suspended driving privileges, made it difficult or impossible for persons convicted to get to work to earn money to pay off those fines. The law was stupid, sadistic, illogical and, in general, ill-conceived.

logo of NJ Cocaine lawyer NJ Criminal LawyerOur Legislature backed off of the law somewhat in 2006. As amended, the law allows for the retention (or restoration) of driving privileges if the court finds that “compelling circumstances” warrant an exception. N.J.S. 2C:35-16 now specifically states that compelling circumstances exist “if the forfeiture of the person's right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State will result in extreme hardship and alternative means of transportation are not available.”

The best way to avoid suspension of New Jersey driving privileges is to not be found guilty of cocaine or drug offenses in the first place. That is not always possible. In those situations, Cocaine Lawyers in New Jersey™ fight to preserve their clients' driving privileges. Persons facing such charges should discuss these issues with them. They await your call.

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