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Ask Legalease Your Own Question
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16367
Experience:  13 years experience in criminal law, BA in criminal justice
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I got pulled over and driving. When I gave

Customer Question

Hi, I got pulled over for texting and driving. When I gave the officer my Swedish driving license. He told me it's not valid and charged me for a unlicensed operator. I have been in USA for a year but I used to live in Boston, However, I just moved to Nj 1.5 month ago. I do work in NJ and got the ticket on Manhattan. What sentence will I get for this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello there ---The police officer was not quite correct in your situation regarding the charge of being an unlicensed operator so long as your place of residence is in New Jersey and you have not lived there any longer than 60 days at this point. Massachusetts has the same 60 day law and your Swedish license is (or rather, was) only valid for the first 60 days after you moved to the US -- after that, the law in every state requires that anyone with a foreign driver's license apply for and receive a driver's license for the state you are residing in (the number of days varies state to state but it is generally 30 to 90 days in EVERY state that you must get a local state license if you are residing in that state for more than the time period designated under the motor vehicle law for that state). Under these circumstances, the NY judge who is reviewing your case might (A) accept the fact that you have lived in NJ for less than 60 days and you have not yet passed the "residency" time period of TWO months (60 days) living in New Jersey. This would require that you bring proof of the date that you moved to NJ to show the court that you are still within the legal time frame to get a NJ license under the NJ laws -- you just had not gotten around to it yet. (if you have a lease document with a move in date or anything else that establishes the date that you moved to NJ that would be helpful to the prosecutor and the court; also, anything from any employer that you may be now working for in NJ setting forth the start date), or (B) will ask you if you drove in Massachusetts when you lived there and if the answer is "yes" then because you were living in MA longer than the 60 days required to establish residency by your own admission and you did not apply for a driver's license in MA, you were basically an "Unlicensed Operator" two months after you moved to Boston, MA USA and the status simply continued into this recent time period where you now live in New Jersey (and so the NJ 60 day grace period does not matter here and will not provide you with any legal relief of the charges in NY city). Here is a link to the NJ DMV with the 60 day rule spelled out, if you were in MA and did not have a car registered to your name in MA then you CAN simply tell the NY court judge that you were not certain if you were going to stay in the US after your time in Boston and you did not drive a car while living in Boston. Then, you decided to stay in the US and moved to NJ and fully intended to get your NJ driver's license by the 60th day after you moved to New Jersey -- and because you had not lived in NJ for 60 days or more at the time you were given a ticket for unlicensed operator, when it was simply about 2 weeks too soon for such a ticket to be issued to you by any police officer (either NY, NJ or CT) !!. While I realize it is a confusing argument, so long as there was no car registered and insured in your name in Boston, then you can use the time in Boston as what you thought may be temporary USA stay, but then turned into a more permanent stay when you moved to NJ and took a new job, etc. Here is a good article which explains the dilemma -- but the point is that if you are living and working in NJ, with an intent to stay at least a few more years. then it would be a good idea to get a NJ driver license -- -If the court does not drop the charges based upon the argument above and you actually have to face a fine and a record of traffic infractions -- your fine and court costs is likely to be several hundred dollars and while the infraction is subject to a 15 day jail sentence if the judge is so inclined, it is extremely rare that this charge brings the jail time in addition to fines and insurance surcharges that you may have to pay if the court is not interested in hearing about the international driver's license argument that you have above. -I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above so I will be paid for my time. I am paid only if you press a positive rating above (the middle star or the fourth or fifth star to the right of the middle star are positive ratings). Pressing a positive rating will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply acts as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time assisting you tonight. -MARY