Reduced Client’s Driver’s License Suspension Time by Two Years
Randolph H. Wolf recently represented a client who, from 1988 through 1998, received various motor vehicle violations in New Jersey, which resulted in numerous orders of suspension. Those violations included DWI convictions in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 as well as several convictions for driving while suspended in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-40. During sentencing, the courts ran the suspension periods for each conviction consecutively (or back-to-back), rather than concurrently (or at the time same time).
As a result of the consecutive sentencing, the client was not eligible for restoration of his driving privileges in New Jersey until September of 2016. He recently reached out to Randolph H. Wolf for help in restoring his driver’s license.
Randolph H. Wolf subsequently brought a motion for a change of sentence, pursuant to New Jersey Court Rule R. 7:9-4(a), in the Joint Municipal Court. Pursuant to R. 7:9-4, entitled “Reduction or Change of Sentence, a court, in its discretion, may reduce or change a sentence previously imposed. The Rule reads as follows:
(a) Time. The court, in its discretion, may reduce or change a sentence, either on its own motion or on the motion of defendant, which may be either oral or written, at any time during which the court retains jurisdiction over the matter.
(b) Procedure. All changes of sentence shall be made in open court upon notice to the defendant and the prosecuting attorney. An appropriate order setting forth the revised sentence and specifying the change made and the reasons for the change shall be entered on the record.
Thus, the rule gives municipal court judges broad discretion to reduce or change a sentence, either on the court’s motion or on the motion of the defendant.
In this motion, Mr. Wolf asked the court to change the sentence previously imposed by running the driver’s license suspension periods imposed for two driving while suspended convictions concurrent with the suspension period imposed on a DWI conviction in that court. During oral argument, Mr. Wolf explained that the client was a recovering alcoholic who had been fighting the disease of alcoholism since 1990. He argued that the court should change the sentence previously imposed as the client had been through substantial inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for alcoholism. Mr. Wolf also stressed that the client needed his driver’s license in order remain employed and to support his family and that public transportation was not on option.
The court ultimately granted Mr. Wolf’s motion and changed the previous sentence imposed by running the suspension time for the client’s two driving while suspended convictions concurrent to his DWI conviction. In effect, this took off two years of driver’s license suspension time for the client.
If you still face suspension time as a result of consecutive sentencing or if you were sentenced over and above the minimum sentence, contact Randolph H. Wolf today for a free consultation. As can be seen, Rule 7:9-4 allows an attorney to file a motion to reduce or change your sentence. If you have completed alcohol rehabilitation or can demonstrate a hardship as a result of the suspension of your driving privileges, then you may be able to get your sentence reduced.