License Suspension for Involvement in Accidents Resulting in Death
Whenever accidents resulting in death of another driver, passenger, or pedestrian occur, the investigating officer is required to report them directly to the Motor Vehicle Commission director within 72 hours of the time of the accident. The director may, without holding any hearing, immediately issue a preliminary license suspension for any accidents resulting in death or serious bodily injury involving an alleged violation of:
- Speeding in excess of 20 miles per hour over the authorized speed limit;
- Driving while intoxicated;
- Careless driving;
- Reckless driving; or
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
One of the problems facing all drivers involved in accidents resulting in death (aside from the obvious pain and remorse) is that the preliminary suspension takes effect as soon as it is issued, and may run for up to 45 days, when the final (plenary) hearing takes place. Fortunately, a driver facing a suspension for an accident resulting in death or serious injury can request a preliminary hearing to terminate the initial suspension.
For more of an explanation of suspensions resulting from fault in a fatal accident, please see the following blog article: Suspensions for Fault in a Fatal Accident Explained
Preliminary Motor Vehicle Hearing for Accidents Resulting in Death or Serious Injury
A driver is entitled to a hearing as long as the Commission receives a hearing request from the driver or his/her lawyer no later than the 10th day from the date on which the notice of suspension was mailed to the driver.
Note: Unlike traditional Notice of Scheduled Suspension Hearings, the preliminary suspension is not postponed when this request is received. However, a preliminary hearing must be scheduled by the MVC no more than 15 days from the date in which the request is received.
This preliminary hearing is for the purpose of determining whether the preliminary suspension proposed by the director should remain in effect until a final (plenary) hearing can be conducted, and a final decision can be made by the agency. An attorney can make this request on a driver’s behalf, and appear with the driver at such time.
At the preliminary hearing, witness testimony, the driver’s history, documents, related summonses, and police reports can be submitted to the administrative law judge. Oral arguments by the driver (and/or his or her attorney) will be heard, and the judge will determine whether, in the interest of public safety, the preliminary suspension for an accident resulting in death should continue. The preliminary suspension would then be lifted, or made to run until the agency makes a final decision on the matter at a plenary hearing to follow soon thereafter.
Final Motor Vehicle Hearing for Accidents Resulting in Death or Serious Injury
After the preliminary hearing takes place, the Commission still must decide upon the final term of suspension for any accident resulting in death or serious injury. The driver will receive a Notice of Proposed Final Suspension, at which time the driver or an attorney for the driver should submit a request for a plenary hearing. At this hearing, the term of suspension will be decided upon based on all facts and circumstances related to the offense, the seriousness of injuries sustained by persons involved in the accident, and the interest of public safety.
Accidents resulting in death or serious bodily injury to another can lead to a suspension of up to three (3) years, but a qualified and experienced attorney can help reduce or eliminate this suspension term altogether. Our attorneys are ready and able to help you with your preliminary and final (plenary) license suspension hearings. Call our office 24/7 at 1 (877) 450-8301 for a free consultation with one of our highly skilled license suspension lawyers, and let us help you get back your driving privileges.
- Rutgers Legal Library – Fault in a Fatal Accident
- Suspensions for Fault in a Fatal Accident Explained