Motor Vehicle Hearings

If a driver receives 12 or more points then the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), formerly known as the DMV, then they will try to suspend your license. The MVC will send the driver a Scheduled Suspension Notice. The notice will specify the date when the driver’s license will be suspended, and the proposed length of the suspension. If you should receive a Scheduled Suspension Notice, then it is imperative that you contact an experienced traffic lawyer.

If a driver receives a Scheduled Suspension Notice then he or she should immediately write the MVC and request a hearing. Don’t delay! If the MVC receives your request for a hearing late, then they won’t give you a hearing, and they will suspend your license. Always send your request for a hearing by certified mail or by Fed Ex. The MVC is overwhelmed, and sometimes they can’t handle their tremendous caseload. It is imperative that a driver has paper proof that they mailed out their request for a hearing. The MVC will consider the date when the request for the hearing was made on the date when your certified mail receipt is stamped, and not when the notice for the hearing is received by the MVC.

If you request a hearing, then the MVC will stop the suspension of your license. The driver will be permitted to drive until the MVC makes their decision at the hearing. The hearings are held at the major MVC offices located in Trenton, Eatontown, Mahwah, and Deptford. The hearings are held before a MVC hearing officer. A hearing officer is an experienced MVC employee, and they have a tremendous amount of experience in reviewing a driver’s abstract, and in the nuances of traffic law. Most are very reasonable and pleasant.

In many cases, the MVC will not schedule the hearing until many months after the driver receives their suspension notice. It is a very good idea for the driver to go to a driver improvement course prior to the hearing. At the hearing you should always provide proof of attendance. The theme at the hearing should be how the driver wants to improve their driving skills.

It is always a good idea to retain a lawyer to represent you at these hearings. The average proposed suspension is for 180 days. In most cases an experienced traffic lawyer can assist a driver to only receive a 15 to 30 day suspension. Moreover, in most cases, the MVC will also order the driver attend a driving improvement course. Having a positive and non-confrontational attitude is the key point in these cases. It is imperative that a driver goes into these hearings with an open attitude and not be disrespectful to the hearing officer. If the driver is remorseful over their driving record, and if he/she displays an honest intention to improve their driving, then most hearing officers will only impose a 15 to 30 day suspension.

However, even if the driver only receives a modest suspension, the driver will still be on “probation status.” The probation status will normally last for one year. Thus, if the driver receives any moving violations during that one year probation then this will trigger another suspension. Please keep in mind that unsafe driving tickets also will trigger a violation of a driver’s probation, even though it is a non-point ticket.

Finally, it is always imperative to fight any proposed license suspension by the MVC. Many times a person can avoid a suspension by just filing the request for a hearing. Many times the MVC simply will lose track of the case and not schedule a hearing. The MVC simply does not have enough hearing officers to have hearings for all of their cases. Sometimes the MVC will drop their case, and send the driver a letter advising them that they are not pursuing their case any longer. In summary, the stopping of any suspension is the key factor. If a driver does nothing, then in most cases he or she will receive the 180 day suspension. A driver who fights for his rights, and who knows the law can avoid many additional months of suspension.