Abandonment of a Motor Vehicle Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.5

‘Abandoned Vehicle’ tickets can cost a person far more than just the impound fees and hassle of getting his or her car back. When a driver is issued a ticket for the Abandonment of a Motor Vehicle under N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.5, it comes with it a possible license suspension of up to two (2) years for a first-offense, and up to five (5) years on a second or subsequent ‘Abandonment’ offense. Not only that, but the possible fines range from $100-$500 on a first-offense, and $500-$1000 on a second or subsequent ‘Abandonment’ conviction.

Additionally, if you have already been to court on your Abandoned Vehicle ticket, and the judge did not suspend your license, you can be hit with an administrative suspension by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for the maximum respective terms above. For this, a driver would need to request a hearing at the NJ MVC in order to have the suspension reduced. An attorney is often better suited to make such a request, and can appear with the driver at the scheduled hearing to take place later.

What Constitutes ‘Abandonment’ of a Motor Vehicle in New Jersey?

To answer the question of what is considered an ‘Abandoned Vehicle’ according to NJ law, it must first be determined whether the vehicle is on a limited access highway (with on/off ramps only at particular places) or some other public property.

Abandoned Vehicles on Limited Access Highways in NJ

For limited access highways, a vehicle that remains on or along the limited-access highway for four hours or more is considered ‘abandoned’. Vehicles legally parked (such as at rest areas) for more than 12 hours are also considered ‘abandoned’. Also considered ‘abandoned’ are vehicles parked on limited access highways for any period of time with no license plates.

Abandoned Vehicles on All Other NJ Highways and Private Property Without Consent

For all other New Jersey Highways and on private roadways/property without the owner’s consent, a vehicle is deemed ‘abandoned’ where it sits for longer than 48 hours. As with limited-access highways, if a vehicle is left without plates for any period of time, it is considered to be an abandoned vehicle, and can be ticketed and towed to the municipal impound lot.

N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.5 – Abandonment of a Motor Vehicle Statute

1. a. It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon a motor vehicle on or along any highway, other than a limited access highway, or other public property or on any private property without the consent of the owner or other person in charge of the private property. A vehicle which has remained on or along any highway or other public property or on private property without such consent for a period of more than 48 hours or for any period without current license plates shall be presumed to be an abandoned motor vehicle. Vehicles used or to be used in the construction, operation or maintenance of public utility facilities and which are left in a manner which does not interfere with the normal movement of traffic shall not be considered abandoned vehicles for the purposes of this section.

b. It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon a motor vehicle on or along any limited access highway without the consent of the State Department of Transportation or other entity having jurisdiction over the limited access highway, as the case may be. A vehicle which remains on or along such a highway for a period of more than four hours or for any period without current license plates shall be presumed to be an abandoned motor vehicle. Legally parked vehicles, such as vehicles parked in a designated rest area for not more than 12 hours, or vehicles used or to be used in the construction, operation or maintenance of public utility facilities and which are left in a manner which does not interfere with the normal movement of traffic shall not be considered abandoned vehicles for the purposes of this section.

c. Any person who violates this section shall be subject for the first offense to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 and his license or driving privilege may be suspended or revoked by the director for not more than two years. For any subsequent violation he shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, and his license or driving privilege be suspended or revoked for a period of not more than five years.

(Source: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/legis/c411.pdf)

Abandoned Vehicle Lawyers in New Jersey

At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have several attorneys well-versed in handling abandoned vehicle tickets and NJ Motor Vehicle Commission license suspension hearings. Call us 24/7 at 1 (877) 450-8301 to find out how we can help you prevent or reduce a loss of license from an Abandonment of a Motor Vehicle ticket. We’re here to help you.