If you received a suspension letter from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (“MVC”), you may be wondering why your license is being suspended and how to fight the suspension. When the MVC wants to suspend an individual’s driving privileges, it will first send out a “Notice of Proposed Suspension” or a “Scheduled Suspension Notice.” This letter will indicate why and when your driving privileges are scheduled to be suspended by the DMV.
Usually, the date the suspension is scheduled to go into effect is only a couple of weeks away. Thus, as soon as you receive the suspension letter from the MVC you should take action. If you fail to take action by scheduled suspension date, the suspension will take effect.
If you do not want the suspension to take effect, however, you should immediately contact NJ license suspension lawyer Katherine O’Brien. Katherine O’Brien will send the NJ MVC a written hearing request letter to the NJ MVC via Certified Mail. That hearing request letter will set forth all legal arguments in support of the basis for the hearing, will request that the scheduled suspension be “stayed” (or temporarily postponed) while the hearing request is pending, and will set forth all of the reasons why you require your driving privileges.
Please note that it is important to retain a lawyer to request a hearing as soon as possible. This is because if your lawyer is able to send a hearing request letter on your behalf within sufficient time for the NJ MVC to receive and process the request before the suspension’s effective date, your lawyer can request that the MVC “stay” or postpone the suspension while your request for a hearing is being processed (which can take 4-8 weeks). This means that the suspension will not go into effect and that you will be free to drive as usual. If, however, the MVC does not receive your hearing request prior to the effective date and/or if you did not request a stay, then your suspension will go into effect and your driving privileges will be suspended while the request for a hearing is being processed.
Why Is the MVC Suspending My License?
The first question asked by most clients who receive a suspension letter is: why is the MVC suspending my license? The suspension letter itself contains a wealth of insurance in this regard. On the back of the suspension letter is your driver’s abstract.
In addition, in the first paragraph of your suspension letter, the MVC will provide the proposed length of your suspension and the suspension’s effective date. Just below that information you will find the reason for the proposed suspension. Some of the reasons why the MVC may try to suspend your license will include:
- Driving during a period of suspension
- Failing to appear in court
- Having accrued too many motor vehicle points
- Being involved in a fatal accident
- Receiving a moving violation during a probationary period
- Making a false statement on an application for a driver’s license or registration
It is sometimes difficult to determine why your license in being administratively suspended. Often times, it will be necessary to look at your driving abstract in conjunction with the reason as set forth on the front of the notice.
If you are having difficulty determining the reason for your suspension or understanding your driving abstract, contact Katherine O’Brien Law at 856-832-2482 for a free consultation. Our NJ license suspension lawyers will review your suspension letter and advise you as to why your license is being suspended.
Should I Accept the Proposed Suspension or Fight It?
To accept the proposed suspension, the suspension letter will indicate that you need to sign the notice and then return it to the MVC along with your license and the restoration fee of $100.00. The NJ license suspension lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law will very rarely recommend that a client simply accept the proposed suspension, however.
All drivers are entitled to request a hearing on the proposed suspension. In almost all cases, NJ license suspension lawyer Katherine O’Brien is able to obtain either a hearing or a reduction or elimination of suspension time. Moreover, as discussed below, we will offer you a full refund if we fail to obtain one of these two outcomes in your matter.
Thus, the best strategy in most cases is to fight the proposed suspension by requesting a hearing.
What Are the Chance of the MVC Granting the Request to “Stay” the Suspension of my Driving Privileges While our Request Is Pending?
The MVC will almost always grant our request that the proposed suspension of your driving privileges not go into effect (or be “stayed”) while our hearing request is pending — so long as the MVC receives and processes our request for a hearing prior to the scheduled suspension date.
Thus, your suspension will not go into effect on the proposed suspension date and, instead, you will be free to drive as usual.
Since the hearing request must be sent via Certified Mail, however, it is vital that you retain an attorney to begin drafting your hearing request as soon as possible to ensure that it is received prior to the effective suspension date.
I Just Received the Suspension Letter and the Effective Suspension Date Has Already Passed. What Happens Now?
Often times, clients will advise us that they did not receive the Notice of Proposed Suspension until after the proposed suspension date has gone into effect. Perhaps this was because you were out of town or because your address with the MVC was not kept up to date.
Whatever the reason, it is not too late to retain a NJ license suspension lawyer to request a hearing on your behalf. The only difference is that the proposed license suspension has already gone into effect in your matter. Unfortunately, there is no way to lift or stay that suspension retroactively. Thus, your driving privileges will remain suspended until the MVC responds to our hearing request.
What Happens After the Hearing Request Is Sent?
After your hearing request is sent to the MVC, it usually takes anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks for the MVC to respond to our request. The MVC will thereafter respond with one of the following three actions:
1. The MVC Will Deny The Hearing Request and Deny The Request for a Reduction of the Suspension Period
Very rarely, the MVC will deny both our request for a hearing and our request for a reduction in suspension time. The chance of this happening, however, are scarce as the MVC will almost always, at the very least, grant our request for a reduction in suspension time. On the occasional situation where such an outcome occurs, the client has usually been found to have been untruthful, is a persistent violator, or was otherwise engaged in egregious conduct.
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we are confident that we will be able to obtain either a hearing or a reduction of suspension time in your matter. Thus, as discussed in further detail below, we will offer you a full refund if we are unable to obtain either a hearing or a reduction (or elimination) of suspension time.
2. The MVC Will Grant The Request for a Reduction of the Suspension Period
Often times, the MVC will write back and either advise us that your driving privileges are now restored or will reduce your suspension time substantially — without ever having to attend a hearing. The amount of the reduction granted will depend on the circumstances of the offense and the client’s stated reasons for needing their driving privileges.
In many cases, the NJ license suspension lawyer Katherine O’Brien is able to obtain a complete elimination of any suspension period. In other cases, we have been successful in obtaining a drastic reduction on behalf of our clients.
For those clients whose suspension has already gone into effect and who have therefore been suspended pending our hearing request, by the time the MVC responds to our request, they will often write back and advise the client that they can go ahead and get restored immediately — saving the client weeks — if not months — of additional suspension time.
As each case is fact specific, however, it is always best to consult with NJ license suspension lawyer Katherine O’Brien to determine a reasonable outcome in your particular matter.
3. The MVC Will Grant The Hearing Request
Alternatively, the MVC may respond by setting forth a pre-hearing conference date. The pre-hearing will take place in one of the MVC’s numerous Regional Service Centers. At the pre-hearing conference, we will appear with you and will represent you at a meeting with a MVC representative. We will then explain your case, make arguments on your behalf, and negotiate with the MVC representative. The MVC representative will then make an offer on your matter, which could include either a substantial reduction in suspension time or no suspension time. Most clients are satisfied with the offers that are negotiated between the attorney and the MVC representative at the pre-hearing conference and will thus accept them.
If, however, you are not satisfied with the offer for any reason, you can simply reject the offer and request a full hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). If you request a full hearing before an ALJ, the matter will be scheduled for another time. At that hearing, we will have the chance to negotiate with another MVC representative prior to the actual hearing before the ALJ.
It should be noted that the vast majority of matters will be resolved without having a full hearing.
What Will It Cost to Hire NJ License Suspension Lawyer Katherine O’Brien to Represent Me?
NJ license suspension lawyer Katherine O’Brien charges low rates for MVC hearing requests.
As can be seen above, many of our cases are resolved without having to attend an in-person hearing. As such, our pricing is structured as follows:
- $500.00 flat-rate fee for a hearing request*
- An additional fee of $500.00 flat-rate fee will apply if a pre-hearing conference is required
*As discussed above, we are confident that we will be able to obtain either a hearing or a reduction in your suspension period. Thus, if the MVC denies our request for a hearing and denies our request for a reduction in suspension time, we will refund you in full.
Moreover, all of our fees are flat rate, meaning they cover all expenses and no additional fees will apply.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?
If the loss of your ability to drive would cause hardship, then it is highly recommended that you retain a NJ license suspension attorney to request a hearing on your behalf for a couple of important reasons.
First, there are several requirements that must be addressed in the initial hearing request letter. As the suspension letter itself explains, your hearing request must address “all disputed material facts and legal issues” that you intend to raise at the hearing. If you fail to raise the appropriate legal issues or adequately explain the basis for each of the legal issues you intend to raise, your request will automatically be denied by the MVC. Time and time again the NJ license suspension lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law have seen the MVC deny a client’s hearing request on the basis that the hearing request did not adequately set forth this information or other vital information.
In addition, in our experience those who are represented by lawyers are simply able to obtain much better outcomes than those individuals who do not retain counsel. Thus, it is important that an experienced NJ license suspension lawyer be involved from the start in order to maximize the possibility of obtaining a hearing and/or reducing or eliminating the proposed suspension term.
I Requested a Hearing Myself and Was Denied. Is There Anything I Can Do?
If you requested a hearing and/or a reduction in suspension time and you were denied by the MVC, you should contact NJ license suspension lawyer Katherine O’Brien. Although you technically only get one chance to formally request a hearing to contest your suspension, we have been successful in requesting “Opportunity Hearings” in cases where the client initially tried to represent themselves on a hearing request. In these instances, we are often able to cure the defect that caused the client’s request to be denied, and thereafter obtain either a reduction in suspension time or hearing on behalf of the client.
NJ License Suspension Lawyer
If you are one of the thousands of individuals who receives a suspension notice from the NJ MVC this year, it may come as a surprise. There is, however, much that can be done to reduce, eliminate, and/or postpone the scheduled suspension.
At Katherine O’Brien Law, we are able to resolve most cases in our client’s favor without having to attend a hearing. Of those matters that do require a hearing, we are able to resolve the vast majority of them without having to attend a full hearing before an ALJ.
Contact the experienced NJ license suspension lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law today for a free consultation. Call us now at 856-832-2482 or fill out our Contact Form today.