DeMichele & DeMichele attorneys always keep a close eye on developments in the law that might affect our clients, both in the courts and in the halls of the state legislature. A new bill, which just passed out of the the State Senate Law and Public Safety Committee this week, would amend the current cell phone driving law under NJSA 39:4-97.3 and significantly increase the penalties associated with driving and using a cell phone simultaneously on New Jersey's roadways. So-called “S-69” ( click here to read the full text) is co-sponsored by State Senator Dick Codey (D-Essex County) and State Senator Fred Madden (D-Gloucester County and Camden County). As always, the devil is in the details… The important details from the website of NJ 101.5 radio: The legislation would put in place a graduated penalty structure for repeat offenders who violate the state's hands-free cell phone law more than once in a ten-year period. Under the bill, first-time offenders would have to pay a fine of $200. Drivers convicted of a second offense within 10 years of the first would have to pay a fine of $400, and drivers convicted of a third and subsequent offenses within 10 years of the first would have to pay a fine of $600 and face driver's license suspension of up to 90 days. Third and subsequent offense could also lead to three points on your driver's license. The fines would go towards a public information program about the dangers of texting while driving. The fines and “points” provision contained in this new legislation are bad enough, but instituting a license suspension for third time offenders is particularly harsh. License suspension in New Jersey is a major hardship on those whom it is imposed upon. A suspended license makes it very difficult to work and live one's life. And I discussed in a prior post from February 2012, even when your period of suspension is over, the process of restoring your New Jersey driver's license can be somewhat arduous. DeMichele & DeMichele will keep you up-to-date regarding the progress of this legislation through the State House. Until the bill passes both chambers and is ultimately signed by the Governor, New Jersey motorists still face the possibility of steep fines, harsh penalties and a trip to municipal court for a relatively common mistake: checking a text message or calling home to see if “we need milk” while behind the wheel.” If you or someone you know is facing municipal court charges including cell phone usage, license suspension, driving without a valid driver's license, vehicle registration, insurance or simply proof thereof, then contact the municipal court defense lawyers at DeMichele & DeMichele online today for a confidential consultation. You can also reach us by telephone at (856) 546-1350.