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Bill targets suspended licenses in NJ

Two New Jersey lawmakers are drafting legislation to require mandatory jail time for those convicted more than once of driving with a suspended license

(Doug Menuez, ThinkStock)

The legislation is in response to an accident earlier this month when a man was struck and killed in Lacey Township. The driver of the van, Patrick Clayton, that hit the pedestrian reportedly had his license privileges taken away over two dozen times, and has not had a valid driver’s license since 2006.

“The fact that people are not taking license suspensions seriously is in part why we need to really make the consequences as strong as they should be,” said Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean).

Clayton had his license suspended 25 times for a variety of reasons, according to Angelini.

Under the bill, anyone convicted of driving with a suspended license would serve 30 days in jail for a second offense, 60 days for a third offense, 90 days for a fourth offense and a year in jail for any additional offense, if the second or higher offense occurs within a five-year period.

“Currently jail time is only ordered if a driver is driving with a suspended license and is involved in an accident that results in an injury,” Angelini said.

Angelini is set to introduce the measure in September along with Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Jackson).

“Driving while your license is suspended should entail greater penalties than a slap on the wrist,” said Dancer in an emailed press release on August 20. “By enacting a greater deterrent such as jail time, rather than just another license suspension, we can keep some of these habitual offenders off the road and hopefully prevent another tragedy.”

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