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IMMIGRATION, MUNICIPAL COURT, AND UNLICENSED DRIVERS IN NEW JERSEY

| Sep 13, 2011 | Criminal Law & Municipal Court |

One of the most common traffic violations which undocumented aliens are charged with in our state is that of being an “unlicensed driver.” Any alleged violation of this charge must be taken seriously. This is not a matter of just paying a fine, and some municipal courts around this State have been known to impose incarceration under certain circumstances. The provisions of the statute can be found at NJSA 39:3-10. The law provides that:A person violating this section shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 60 days, but if that person has never been licensed to drive in this State or any other jurisdiction, he shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 and, in addition, the court shall issue an order to the commission requiring the commission to refuse to issue a license to operate a motor vehicle for a period not less than 180 days. Note that the above is only a small excerpt, and that anyone potentially affected by this charge should consult the full statute or an experienced municipal court attorney. The point here is that the penalties can be stiff, if not arguably draconian. Even if an undocumented alien drives around with a license from his/her native country, he or she is not necessarily immune to this statute, especially if that person has resided in New Jersey past sixty days.

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