N.J. may drop jail time for driving under a suspended license

 New Jersey state capitol building in Trenton. (NewsWorks file photo)

New Jersey state capitol building in Trenton. (NewsWorks file photo)

New Jersey may lighten up on those busted for driving under a suspended license. The current penalty is up to 180 days in jail but that could change to just community service under a bill passed by the Assembly Judiciary Committee in Trenton. 

Judiciary Committee Chairman John McKeon said the intention is to make sure the penalty is appropriate.

“Certainly, people shouldn’t be out there driving on suspended licenses, but to put them in jail just seems to really not meet its intended purpose. You’re going to disrupt their family life. You’re going to disrupt potentially them losing their employment.”

McKeon said the enforced community service would allow offenders to continue making a living while paying society back in a different way.

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Dianna Houenou with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey believes that’s a smart solution.

“We still need judges to feel more inclined to use those alternatives in a way that actually is impactful and is helping people stay on their feet without jeopardizing their lives or throwing their lives into turmoil.”

The option for a lighter sentence passed an Assembly committee today.

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