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License Penalties for Fatal Car Accidents

March 21, 2016 | Posted In Personal Injury/Negligence

Car accidents are always jarring for anyone involved and the results can be devastating. They’re called accidents for a reason and crashes can be caused by a variety of occurrences — loss of control, lack of attention, car malfunction, poor weather or driving conditions, the onset of a medical condition like a stroke or seizure and much more. In any of these instances, one driver doesn’t set out to harm another, or cause an accident, which makes dealing with the consequences all the more difficult, especially if someone is hurt or killed in a crash.

In any car accident where a driver, passenger or pedestrian is killed, the police officer who investigates the incident is required to report it directly to the Motor Vehicle Commission director within 72 hours of the time the accident occurred. Once the details of the accident have been reported, the director may choose to issue a preliminary license suspension to the party at fault if the case involved any of the following dangerous violations:

  • Traveling more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit
  • Careless or reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Fleeing the scene of the accident

Because the report is filed within 72 hours of the accident, any preliminary suspension issued takes immediate effect and can be issued for up to 45 days when the final hearing takes place. If a driver’s license is temporarily suspended, he or she might be unable to drive for over a month while waiting for this final hearing.

Preliminary Hearing Request

Following a temporary license suspension, the affected driver can request a preliminary hearing to terminate the initial suspension. Provided the Commission receives the request from the driver or the attorney within 10 days of the suspension notice being mailed, the driver is entitled to that hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether the director’s issuance of a temporary license suspension should remain in place until the final hearing.

At this hearing, the driver can present witness testimony, documents, driving history and police reports to the judge. He or she (or the attorney handling the case) can also offer an oral argument. An administrative law judge will then use the evidence provided to determine whether the suspension can be lifted or should remain in place in the interest of public safety. After this hearing, the Commission will decide on the final terms of suspension, if any, and issue a Notice of Proposed Final Suspension to the driver.

At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, we help drivers who have been involved in fatal car accidents work through any temporary penalties assessed by the DMV. If you are facing a temporary license suspension for your involvement in a fatal car crash, and you need to have this suspension removed, you need the help of a New Jersey accident lawyer at our law firm. Filing your hearing is time-sensitive, so don’t hesitate to call HCK today.

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