SENATE, No. 1820

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 22, 2010

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Permits certain motor vehicle offenders to apply for a restricted use license.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning restricted use licenses, amending R.S.39:3-40 and supplementing chapter 4 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  (New section)  As used in this act:

     "Director" means the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles.

     "Restricted use license" means a license to operate a motor vehicle exclusively for employment-related purposes in compliance with the terms of this act.  The license shall be of a color that makes it readily distinguishable from other driver's licenses issued by the State.

     "Restricted use placard" means a rectangular sign of at least 12 inches by 8 inches, in the same color as a restricted use license, bearing the words "restricted use vehicle" in bold letters at least one inch high.

 

     2.  (New section)  a.  Before suspending the driver's license of any person, the court shall determine whether that person is eligible to apply for a restricted use license pursuant to the provisions of this act.  If the person is determined to be eligible, the court shall explain the conditions under which such a license may be attained. A person who requires a restricted use license for employment or education related purposes may so inform the court, which shall then issue the person an application for the license.  The person shall return the completed application to the court.

     b.  A person who applies for a restricted use license shall certify in the application:

     (1)  his place of employment or education and the hours during which he is employed or attending classes;

     (2)  the hours during which and the locations between which it is necessary for him personally to operate a motor vehicle;

     (3)  that no means of public transportation to his place of employment or education exists within one mile of his home;

     (4)  whether and, if so, in what manner he is required to operate a motor vehicle as a condition of employment;

     (5)  that he has no other reasonable means of traveling to and from the place of employment or education or of pursuing his employment or education other than by the personal operation of a motor vehicle; and

     (6)  that he or his family, or both, will suffer substantial financial or other hardship if he is unable to personally operate a motor vehicle.

     c.  In determining whether to advise the director to issue a
restricted use license, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following criteria:

     (1)  the severity of financial hardship imposed upon the defendant by a complete denial of driving privileges;

     (2)  the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense; and

     (3)  the probability that the defendant will repeat the offense.

     d.  A restricted use license shall be granted only on the condition that the applicant:

     (1)  pays any fine and serves any period of detainment or term of imprisonment imposed by the court in connection with the offense for which his driver's license is suspended; and

     (2)  provides proof that he possesses fully paid motor vehicle liability insurance in the amount required by law and for the duration of the requested restricted use license.

     e.  Upon receiving the completed application, the court shall determine whether the person should be issued a restricted use license.  Upon approving an application for a restricted use license, the court shall immediately issue to the applicant a temporary restricted use license and a temporary restricted use placard.  Both shall be valid for 30 days unless rescinded by the director or replaced by an approved restricted use license and placard.  The court shall forward the application for a restricted use license to the director.

 

     3.  (New section)  a.  Upon approval by the court, the director shall issue an approved restricted use license to a person who has made application pursuant to section 2 of this act.  The restricted use license shall be in a form prescribed by the director and shall be issued as promptly as is practicable in accordance with procedures established by the director.  The license shall be of a color selected by the director which readily distinguishes it from other driver's licenses issued by this State.  The director may impose a fee of not more than $25 for the issuance of a restricted use license.

     b.  A restricted use license issued under this act shall authorize the licensee to operate a motor vehicle during certain hours and between certain points solely for the purpose of either traveling to and from his place of employment or education or pursuing his employment or education or both.  The limitations on the authorized use of the license shall be determined by the director, and those limitations, as well as the penalties provided for in section 5 of this act, shall be indicated on the license.

     c.  The director shall issue a restricted use placard to each approved restricted use licensee.  The placard shall be prominently displayed in the rear window, or other location determined by the director, of any vehicle being driven by a restricted use licensee. The placard shall be the same color as the restricted use license.  No fee shall be charged for the issuance of the placard.  The limitations on the authorized use of the placard shall be determined by the director, and those limitations, as well as the penalties provided for in section 5 of this act, shall be indicated on the placard.

     d.  A restricted use license shall expire at the time of the expiration of the suspension or revocation period of the licensee's driver's license or on the last day of the twelfth month following the calendar month in which the restricted use license was issued, whichever is earlier.

     e.  A restricted use license shall be issued only to persons whose driver's licenses are suspended or revoked after the effective date of this act.

 

     4.  (New section)  A person whose driver's license has been forfeited under any of the following circumstances shall be ineligible to apply for a restricted use driver's license:

     a.  the person forfeited his license pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1982, c.43 (C.39:5-30.8) or section 2 of P.L.1972, c.197 (C.39:6B-2);

     b.  death or serious bodily injury resulted during the commission of the offense for which the person's license has been forfeited;

     c.  the offense for which the person forfeited his license involved driving at a speed more than 15 miles in excess of the legal limit pursuant to R.S.39:4-98, a violation of R.S.39:4-96, or a violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1); or

     d.  the person has been convicted of a violation of R.S.39:3-40.

 

     5.  (New section)  The following penalties shall apply with regard to the issuance and use of restricted use licenses:

     a.  An applicant who deliberately falsifies an application for a restricted use license shall have the suspension or revocation of his driver's license extended for a period of one year.

     b.  A restricted use licensee who operates a motor vehicle between points or during hours other than those indicated on the restricted use license shall be fined not less than $500 or more than $1,000, and shall be ordered by the court to perform community service for a period of 30 days, and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 90 days.  The director shall immediately rescind the licensee's restricted use license and shall extend the suspension or revocation of his driver's license for a period of two years.

     c.  If, while operating a motor vehicle during unauthorized hours or between unauthorized points, a licensee is convicted of causing an accident resulting in personal injury or death to another person, he shall be fined not less than $1,000 or more that $5,000, shall be ordered by the court to perform community service for a period of 30 days, and shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 days or more than 120 days.  The director shall immediately rescind the licensee's restricted use license and shall extend the suspension or revocation of his basic driver's license for a period of five years.

     d.  If a restricted use licensee commits a moving violation under Title 39 of the Revised Statutes while traveling between points and during hours indicated on his restricted use license, the director shall immediately rescind the person's restricted use license and reinstate the full term of the original suspension or revocation of his driver's license.

     e.  If a restricted use licensee violates the provisions of R.S.39:4-50, the licensee shall be fined not less than $1,000 or more than $5,000 and shall be imprisoned for a term of 180 days.  The director shall immediately rescind the person's restricted use license and extend the suspension or revocation of his driver's license for a period of 10 years.

     f.  The penalties in this section shall be applied in addition to any other penalties required by law for a violation of the motor vehicle laws.

 

     6.  R.S.39:3-40 is amended to read as follows:

     39:3-40.  No person to whom a driver's license has been refused or whose driver's license or reciprocity privilege has been suspended or revoked, or who has been prohibited from obtaining a driver's license, shall personally operate a motor vehicle during the period of refusal, suspension, revocation, or prohibition, except as provided for by P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     No person whose motor vehicle registration has been revoked shall operate or permit the operation of such motor vehicle during the period of such revocation.

     Except as provided in subsections i. and j. of this section, a person violating this section shall be subject to the following penalties:

     a.     Upon conviction for a first offense, a fine of $500.00 and, if that offense involves the operation of a motor vehicle during a period when the violator's driver's license is suspended for a violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a), revocation of the violator's motor vehicle registration privilege in accordance with the provisions of sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1 through C.39:3-40.5);

     b.    Upon conviction for a second offense, a fine of $750.00, imprisonment in the county jail for at least one but not more than five days and, if the second offense involves the operation of a motor vehicle during a period when the violator's driver's license is suspended and that second offense occurs within five years of a conviction for that same offense, revocation of the violator's motor vehicle registration privilege in accordance with the provisions of sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1 through C.39:3-40.5);

     c.     Upon conviction for a third offense or subsequent offense, a fine of $1,000.00  and imprisonment in the county jail for 10 days. If the third or a subsequent offense involves the operation of a motor vehicle during a period when the violator's driver's license is suspended and the third or subsequent offense occurs within five years of a conviction for the same offense, revocation of the violator's motor vehicle registration privilege in accordance with the provisions of sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1 through C.39:3-40.5);

     d.    Upon conviction, the court shall impose or extend a period of suspension not to exceed six months;

     e.     Upon conviction, the court shall impose a period of imprisonment for not less than 45 days or more than 180 days, if while operating a vehicle in violation of this section a person is involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to another person;

     f. (1) In addition to any penalty imposed under the provisions of subsections a. through e. of this section, any person violating this section while under suspension issued pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1972, c.197 (C.39:6B-2), upon conviction, shall be fined $500.00, shall have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for an additional period of not less than one year nor more than two years, and may be imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 90 days.

     (2)   In addition to any penalty imposed under the provisions of subsections a. through e. of this section and paragraph (1) of this subsection, any person violating this section under suspension issued pursuant to R.S.39:4-50, section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a) or P.L.1982, c.85 (C.39:5-30a et seq.), shall be fined $500, shall have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for an additional period of not less than one year or more than two years, and shall be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than 10 days or more than 90 days.

     (3)   In addition to any penalty imposed under the provisions of subsections a. through e. of this section and paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, a person shall have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for an additional period of not less than one year or more than two years, which period shall commence upon the completion of any prison sentence imposed upon that person, shall be fined $500 and shall be imprisoned for a period of 60 to 90 days for a first offense, imprisoned for a period of 120 to 150 days for a second offense, and imprisoned for 180 days for a third or subsequent offense, for operating a motor vehicle while in violation of paragraph (2) of this subsection while:

     (a)   on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property;

     (b)   driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 if the municipality, by ordinance or resolution, has designated the school crossing as such; or

     (c)   driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 knowing that juveniles are present if the municipality has not designated the school crossing as such by ordinance or resolution.

     A map or true copy of a map depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 1,000 feet of any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board produced pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1987, c.101 (C.2C:35-7) may be used in a prosecution under subparagraph (a) of this paragraph.

     It shall not be relevant to the imposition of sentence pursuant to subparagraph (a) or (b) of this paragraph that the defendant was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or while driving through a school crossing.  Nor shall it be relevant to the imposition of sentence that no juveniles were present on the school property or crossing zone at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session;

     g.     In addition to the other applicable penalties provided under this section, a person violating this section whose license has been suspended pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35) or the regulations adopted thereunder, shall be fined $3,000.  The court shall waive the fine upon proof that the person has paid the total surcharge imposed pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35) or the regulations adopted thereunder. Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.39:5-41, the fine imposed pursuant to this subsection shall be collected by the  Motor Vehicle Commission pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35), and distributed as provided in that section, and the court shall file a copy of the judgment of conviction with the  chief administrator and with the Clerk of the Superior Court who shall enter the following information upon the record of docketed judgments: the name of the person as judgment debtor; the  commission as judgment creditor; the amount of the fine; and the date of the order.  These entries shall have the same force and effect as any civil judgment docketed in the Superior Court;

     h.     A person who owns or leases a motor vehicle and permits another to operate the motor vehicle commits a violation and is subject to suspension of his license to operate a motor vehicle and to revocation of registration pursuant to sections 2 through 6 of P.L.1995, c.286 (C.39:3-40.1 through C.39:3-40.5) if the person:

     (1)   Knows that the operator's license to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended for a violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a); or

     (2)   Knows that the operator's license to operate a motor vehicle is suspended and that the operator has been convicted, within the past five years, of operating a vehicle while the person's license was suspended or revoked;

     i.      If the violator's driver's license to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1985, c.14 (C.39:4-139.10) or for failure to comply with a time payment order, the violator shall be subject to a maximum fine of $100 upon proof that the violator has paid all fines and other assessments related to the parking violation that were the subject of the Order of Suspension, or if the violator makes sufficient payments to become current with respect to payment obligations under the time payment order;

     j.     If a person is convicted for a second or subsequent violation of this section and the second or subsequent offense involves a motor vehicle moving violation, the term of imprisonment for the second or subsequent offense shall be 10 days longer than the term of imprisonment imposed for the previous offense.

     For the purposes of this subsection, a "motor vehicle moving violation" means any violation of the motor vehicle laws of this State for which motor vehicle points are assessed by the chief administrator pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1982, c.43 (C.39:5-30.5).

(cf:  P.L.2007, c.187)

 

     7.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month after enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would allow a person whose license has been suspended for certain motor vehicle violations to apply for a restricted use license.  The license would be used exclusively for traveling to and from the licensee's place of employment or education, when other transportation is not available, and for driving on the job where that is a condition of employment.  The bill is intended to mitigate the adverse effects of a suspension of driving privileges on certain persons who must drive motor vehicles to maintain their employment or continue their education.

     Persons whose licenses were suspended for accumulating 12 or more motor vehicle points, driving without the required motor vehicle liability insurance, an offense that involved death or seriously bodily injury, exceeding the speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour, reckless driving, illegally passing a school bus or driving while the operator's license was suspended or revoked would be ineligible for the restricted use license.

     An applicant for a restricted use license would be required to certify to the court that no other reasonable means of traveling to and from his job or schooling exists and that he will suffer substantial financial hardship if the license is not granted.  The court would make a recommendation to the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles as to whether the license should be granted.  A restricted use license would be granted only if all fines are paid and sentences completed in connection with the license suspension and proof of fully paid liability insurance is provided.

     The restricted use license would be of a distinctive color which would distinguish it from other driver's licenses issued by this State. The license would contain the specific hours and place for which its use is permitted.  In addition, the licensee would be required to display a prominent placard of similar color in the rear window of any vehicle he is operating.

     A restricted use licensee would face penalties for violating the restrictions imposed or for violating motor vehicle laws while using a restricted use license.  These penalties are in addition to those already required by law.