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Is the Penalty in New Jersey for Driving without Auto Insurance More Serious than Drunk Driving?

Posted: September 23, 2011





Read on and you decide. 

It is important that you know, especially because one in seven drivers in the United States has no automobile insurance, according to a report in USA Today.   Even more important to know is that Richard R. Uslan, Esquire, an experienced and knowledgeable New Jersey Municipal Court Trial Attorney, can effectively defend you if you have been charged with Driving without Auto Insurance.

There is no question that both No Insurance and DWI are extremely serious violations in NJ, and require the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in the necessary statutory and case law on these subjects in order to defend against them.  Mr. Uslan has instructed attorneys and municipal court judges about these important subjects in legal seminars  throughout New Jersey on several occasions.  Attorney Uslan, with offices in Somerville, New Jersey, is equipped with an arsenal of statutory law, regulations and court decisions that are necessary to effectively represent you for this charge, just as he has successfully helped more than 10,000 others during the past 30 years.    A thousand or more of those clients have been charged with either of these traffic violations, or both. 

A motorist facing a first offense of Driving Without Automobile Insurance is, if convicted, facing a mandatory loss of driving privileges for one year, a fine of $300.00, and additional collateral consequences (penalties after you have been sentenced by the judge and left the courtroom), which include state-imposed surcharges of $250.00 for each of the next three years and nine insurance eligibility points, which will significantly increase auto insurance premiums in a State that is already universally regarded as having the highest auto insurance rates in the United States.

Compare those penalties with a first offense of either Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving under the Influence (DUI) in a non-school zone.  DWI, DUI and Drunk Driving are all the same thing in New Jersey, and if sentenced as a first offender, although the fines and surcharges are greater, and evaluation at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) is required, the mandatory minimum loss of driving privileges is 7 months, not one year as it is for the no insurance violation.   Based upon my thirty years of experience, the discretionary jail term of up to thirty days for a first DWI offense is rarely imposed, and a sentence to the minimum 7 month license suspension is more often the rule than the exception, so the  mandatory, one year loss of license for a first conviction of Driving without Auto Insurance conviction is one of the most serious penalties that New Jersey motorists can potentially face.  All the more reason to call upon Richard R. Uslan, Esquire to defend you.

OK, so a motorist faces a longer mandatory loss of driving privilege for a first offense of Driving without Auto Insurance than a first offense of DUI.  But what are the penalties for second conviction for Driving without Automobile Insurance compared to a second conviction for DUI?  Which is more serious?   

Although both offenses carry, upon a second offense, a mandatory two year loss of license,  for Driving without Auto Insurance a second time, the fine can be as high as $5,000.00.  Compare that to a second conviction for Driving While Intoxicated, which is a maximum $1,000.00 fine.    Additionally, the second no insurance conviction will also carry with it a mandatory 14 day jail term.   Compare that to a second DWI conviction, where the sentencing judge has the discretion to sentence a defendant to a minimum two day jail term and a maximum of 90 days.  All of that being said, when comparing the severity of the respective penalties for these to offenses a second time, you should also consider this:  many Drunk Driving defendants represented by Richard R. Uslan, even if convicted for a second DUI, have often avoided a “mandatory” jail  sentence entirely.   Additionally, Mr. Uslan has often obtained sentences for second DWI offenders as if was only their first conviction for DWI.

 Why is it that in some respects, a defendant convicted in NJ for Driving without Automobile Insurance a first or second time faces a greater penalty than a first or second conviction for Driving While Intoxicated?  My personal belief is that it is a reflection of the vast influence the Insurance Industry and its lobbyists have over the elected officials responsible for drafting the motor vehicle laws and penalties.  They wield much more influence because they have more financial resources than Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD).  

Receiving a ticket for Driving without Automobile Insurance in New Jersey is the culmination of a “perfect storm”

New Jersey is one of the most densely populated States in our country, wedged between the New York and Philadelphia metropolises.  More urban residents in New Jersey drive cars than in New York City and the suburban and rural areas of New Jersey lack a public transportation network, requiring residents in those areas to rely heavily on driving their cars.  The fabled New Jersey Turnpike is just one example of the multitude of asphalt roads that cross the entire State, from Hackensack to Atlantic City, and from Hoboken to Phillipsburg, with Bridgewater, New Brunswick, Morristown, Union and Edison in between.   Such a small state has, in addition to several hundred, separate, local, municipal police forces, the New Jersey State Police, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police, the Rutgers University Police, several county police agencies, county sheriff’s officers, and the Norfolk and Southern Railroad Police.  They are patrolling all of those roadways en mass, using mobile data terminals to check the registration and insurance status of the automobiles merely by entering the license plate into an onboard computer.

Combine all the NJ roads, NJ police, the highest insurance premiums in the Nation, and one in seven persons driving a car without any auto insurance at all, and the end result is a penalty for a violation that in some respects, is more severe than a DWI conviction.

Mr. Uslan knows this, but he also knows that automobile insurance companies that do business inNew Jersey are subject to very strict, detailed and complex state regulation.  He also knows that often, the person driving the car wasn’t the one who was responsible for buying the insurance for it to begin with.

Frequently, deciphering the motor vehicle traffic laws, as well as the insurance regulations and statutes to make certain that the auto insurance company has complied with them, is the key to defending an individual whose auto insurance had been cancelled for late payment or non-payment of the premium, and is now left holding the ticket issued by the police for driving the car without having the insurance for that car that is required by law.   

 Don’t lose hope!  Defending you for Driving without Automobile Insurance is my business!





Category: Driving without Auto Insurance in New Jersey, DWI In New Jersey

The Ambien® Defense: Using Intoxication to Defend your DWI !

Posted: August 5, 2011


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My name is Richard R. Uslan and I am a New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney.  I have personally represented thousands of DWI clients successfully throughout New Jersey for almost 40 years, and in New York State, where I am also admited to practice law.  My law firm is located almost directly across from the Somerset County Court House in Somerville, New Jersey.    While I am admitted to the Bars of NJ and NY,  I am also available for sponsorship for admission to your State, for your particular case,  pro hac vice by your local attorney (i.e. I would appear with you in your local court).  Alternatively, I can serve as a consultant to your locally retained lawyer.


(quoted from ABC TV NEWS “NIGHTLINE” August 14, 2012)

Many of you have heard of incidents or watched TV broadcasts involving people who were “sleep-driving”.   Perhaps you saw me on TV or heard me on national radio discussing this subject.   I appeared as an expert Legal Analyst on a national TV broadcast of ABC News “Nightline” to discuss this important and complex subject.   You may also have read about me online or in the newspaper.  The Ambien/Sleep Driving Defense has helped many people who have been arrested for DUI, only because they had taken the medication as directed by their prescribing physican and drove their car.

My client had a .10% blood alcohol concentration — over the legal limit — and was under the influence of two prescription medications, one of which was Ambien.   Her 2006 arrest spawned the creation of a new legal defense, which utilizes intoxication to defend the DWI or DUI.   Here is a TV feature of the case broadcast by WCBS-TV  New York:



I am available as a paid legal consultant to discuss whether or how this potential defense may assist you.   Attorneys, expert witnesses, such as physicians,  not only in New Jersey, but throughout the country, have consulted with me about how to apply this defense to their cases.   While discussing the first occasion when I used this defense, a professor of a renown Law School who teaches Drunk Driving  Law called my case “the most difficult DWI case ever won in New Jersey” and I was invited to make a presentation for his students.  Another Law School, the Duquesne University School of Law, referred to the case in its Criminal Law Review.  It has been described in Marie Claire Magazine as the seminal case in the development of the “Ambien” Defense.   I received an invitation to attend an international convention of Addiction Medicine Specialists in Milan, Italy, to discuss the impact of my unique, Drunk Driving defense.  Throughout my 30 year career as a New Jersey DUI Defense Attorney, I have successfully helped several thousands of clients in most of the 500 municipalities of New Jersey; appearing in almost 500 municipal courts,  where all Drunk Driving cases in New Jersey are tried.


That’s right!  Certain medications cause innocent people to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, and engage in behavior as complex and difficult as driving a car, without even realizing they were doing it!   It was apparent to me that when the Drunk Driving laws were first passed, the legislators could not possibly have foreseen that taking a prescription medication under doctor’s orders could cause this.    It was one of several legal arguments which ultimately culminated in the acceptance of the defense which, using legal terminology, I named: “Common-law Pathological Intoxication”.  This defense is also commonly referred to as the “DWI Ambien Defense” or the “DUI Sleep Driving Defense”.   Some people call it the “Drunk Driving Sleeping Pill Defense”.    The essence of this defense is that I utilize the fact that my client was intoxicated as a defense to their charge of Driving Under the Influence!

If you have experienced unusual symptoms from drugs or medications while driving, and as a result, have been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, even if you combined those pills with alcohol, consult with me, Attorney Richard R. Uslan, without further delay.  I am acknowledged throughout New Jersey as having created the judicially-accepted legal defense of “common-law pathological intoxication”, which I successfully applied as a Somerset County Drunk Driving Lawyer in Hillsborough Township, and has become a state-wide defense that I can argue in any one of the 21 counties in New Jersey, including North Jersey, Central Jersey and South Jersey.


In New Jersey, you aren’t entitled to have a Jury hear and decide your case.  Only the Judge determines your guilt or innocence.  You have to convince the Judge that the facts — and more importantly in these situations — that the law is on your side.  You can’t even plea bargain cases of Driving under the Influence in New Jersey.   In New Jersey, Driving While Intoxicated is a strict liability offense.     Even if you did not intend to drive your car  intoxicated, once the police observed you operating it, you still must be found guilty – that is, until my defense first became judicially accepted and recognized.   The defense I developed was so effective in that particular case that:


Ironically, my law firm is located in the very shadow of several pharmaceutical companies that make these pills.  For instance, Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of Ambien® and Ambien CR® , is located on the same road as the courthouse where I represent clients as a Bridgewater DWI attorney, two miles from my office.   Bridgewater is also the home of King Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Sonata®.   Valeant Pharmaceuticals is in the next county over, where I have appeared often as a Morris County Drunk Driving Attorney, specifically, in the Madison Joint Municipal Court.  Valeant produces Dalmane®.   Abbott Laboratories, which manufactures Placidyl® and Prosom®, is where I practice as a Middlesex County DWI attorney, specifically, as a Cranbury Driving While Intoxicated Attorney.   Abbott Labs has other offices in the township where I appear as an East Windsor DUI Lawyer and more generally, as a Mercer County Drunk Driving Lawyer.

All of these New Jersey-based medications I have mentioned are the focus of revised labeling because they can cause sleep-driving.    Still other products with revised labeling that can cause sleep-driving are produced outside of  New Jersey and include:  Butisol Sodium, Carbrital®, Doral®,  Halcion®,  Lunesta®, Restoril®,  Rozerem®  and Seconal®.

New Jersey is the home to several other well known drug companies that have produced and will continue to produce hundreds if not thousands of drugs, the side-effects of which may still not be fully known, and therefore, can potentially trigger use of my common-law pathological intoxication defense in the future, depending upon what effect it may have on any given defendant’s knowledge and intent to operate a motor vehicle.   Merck & Co., in the Whitehouse Station section where I appear as a Readington DUI Attorney, is just minutes away from another court I appear at regularly as a Raritan Township DWI Attorney.  They are all in Hunterdon County.   I am a Hunterdon County DWI Attorney.

Johnson & Johnson is located in the same town where I have argued Drunk Driving cases as a Raritan Borough Drunk Driving Lawyer.  I have also successfully argued cases as a New Brunswick Driving While Intoxicated Lawyer, a city where Johnson & Johnson also has offices.  Not only does that company have a large pharmaceutical facility in the New Brunswick area, I often travel near another one of its facilities to handle Driving under the Influence cases as a Morris Plains Driving while Intoxicated Lawyer, and yet another office is near the court where I have appeared with clients defending Hopewell Township DUI cases.

Bristol Myers-Squibb, another international drug company, has offices near the court where I often appear as a Montgomery DUI Attorney, and produces medications in facilities located in the same towns where I defend clients as a Princeton Drunk Driving Attorney, a Lawrenceville DUI Lawyer and a Hamilton Driving While Intoxicated Lawyer.  Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS) has a large presence in our State.  I have been called upon by clients on numerous occasions to appear as a Plainsboro DWI Attorney and as a New Brunswick DUI Defense lawyer, two municipalities where BMS also maintains offices.


Another important aspect of this highly technical and complex defense is that the specific, pathologically intoxicating effects of Ambien® were not in the literature accompanying the medication when my client took it, and my client was not informed of it by the pharmacist or medical doctor.  Even today, many physicians and pharmacists neglect to verbally explain to patients the several potential side-effects of Ambien or other medications they prescribe.

As you could imagine, sleep drivers are usually not operating their vehicles safely, and when they are pulled over by the police, are in a dream-like trance.   These individuals usually do not remember that they either started the car or drove the car.  They may not even remember having been arrested!  They are suffering from anterograde amnesia unintentionally caused by taking the very drugs, in the proper dosages, which their doctors prescribed to them, most often to help them sleep.

I am a Somerset County Drunk Driving Lawyer, so  I often appear in court as a Bridgewater DWI Attorney, a Bedminster Drunk Driving Attorney, a Bernards Township DUI Attorney, a Bound Brook DWI Attorney, a South Bound Brook DUI Lawyer, or a Manville Drunk Driving Attorney.  They are all in Somerset County and close to my Somerville office.   Hundreds of clients each year from Somerset County and all over New Jersey, or clients who were arrested in New Jersey but live out-of-state, have sought my advice to combat the humiliation, stress and embarrassment of being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated.


I am a former Essex County Prosecutor in Newark,  a Springfield Municipal Prosecutor & Denville Municipal Prosecutor.   After that tenure, and using my familiarity with those areas and courts, I have defended numerous cases as an Essex County DUI Attorney, a Union County DWI Lawyer and a Morris County Drunk Driving Attorney.  I have had law offices in Springfield and Linden, both of which are in Union County.


If you have any unusual symptoms from drugs or medicine that you were taking when you were arrested for drunk driving, DWI or DUI, even if you combined alcohol with those pills, consult with me, the attorney with over thirty years of experience successfully handling thousands of these cases throughout New Jersey.  I will use my knowledge and experience not just in the law, but in Sciences, to expertly and personally handle your case.






Category: DWI In New Jersey

Why hire an experienced NJ DWI Defense Attorney?

Posted: July 10, 2011

DWI is a very serious offense in New Jersey. I know, from the thousands of DWI cases I have handled over the last thirty years, that it can be a life-changing, humiliating violation. It can happen to anyone of us. If you are charged with Driving While Intoxicated by alcohol, illegal drugs, lawfully prescribed or pharmaceutical medications, don’t lose hope! Defending you is my business. I take the name of my website seriously — www.idefendyou.com. I take my registered trademark seriously too — idfendu®.

That’s because I’ve been in Court every day for the past thirty years, throughout the entire State of New Jersey, helping clients like you who have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated.

New Jersey has a lot of fine lawyers – there are over 70,000 of them. Everyone has a family member or friend who is an attorney. Almost everyone has had an attorney help them with a Will, a real estate purchase or for injuries due to an accident. But what if you are charged with DWI, DUI, Drunk Driving, Driving While Intoxicated, or Driving under the Influence? In New Jersey, they all mean the same thing. The penalties are the same for each and are the strictest laws in the nation. For each, you can go to jail, lose your license to drive, and pay heavy fines, insurance surcharges, and higher insurance premiums. You must go for mandatory alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car. All of these consequences and you aren’t entitled to a “plea bargain” or a jury trial! Additionally, as if those penalties aren’t serious enough, they are even worse if this is not the first time you have been convicted of it.

It is easy to understand, that if you have a serious medical problem — with your heart for example — you would see a specialist — a cardiologist — who has the expertise to help you. The same is true if you are arrested for DUI. You need me — an experienced, respected, DWI defense attorney. I am the lawyer who has personally helped people like you — who have been charged with DWI — for over thirty years; I am the lawyer who has been invited to instruct attorneys, judges and police officers in seminars about this subject all over the State of New Jersey. When you call my office, you don’t get a young or inexperienced associate to go to court with you. You don’t get an attorney who is an expert in real estate or immigration law. You get me. I personally travel to all of the municipal courts in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Hunterdon, Union and Warren County. During my lengthy career as an Attorney at law, I have maintained offices in Morris, Union, Essex and Somerset Counties, but I have been everywhere in New Jersey, as well as in New York, too, where I am also admitted to practice law, and in Pennsylvania, where I was sponsored to appear in Federal Court pro hac vice.

As yet another example of why the Drunk Driving laws in New Jersey are so strict, if you were stopped while driving – but did not intend to drive – you cannot use that as a defense, with the exception, of course, of a judicially-recognized DWI defensethat I created. That defense involvedusing my client’s intoxication as a defense to driving while intoxicated!

An experienced DWI defense attorney is someone whom the Prosecutor and Judge have seen in action – many times. It doesn’t matter whether your office is around the block from the courthouse. I am well-known as a respected, experienced, DWI attorney everywhere in New Jersey. Geographically, it’s a small State, which is densely populated with a multitude of roads and highways between the New York and Philadelphia Metropolis’.

The prosecution knows that I can try a case effectively, confidently and aggressively. They know I can find defenses to help you and spot weaknesses in the case that they think they may have against you. They know I am going to make them work hard if they want to try to convict you. They know I want to receive all of the discovery – the police reports, the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) Reports to examine 20 minute observation issues; the Alcohol Influence Report and foundational documents to challenge admissibility of evidence; the police videotapes from the scene and police headquarters; the radio-dispatch tapes; the historical data-downloads containing prior tests on the Alcotest; the service and repair records for the breath-testing machine; the laboratory notes and chemist’s reports for drug-related DWI cases; the hospital records in the case of blood testing in DUI cases; the police roadblock memoranda if that is the claimed reason for your motor vehicle stop and arrest; the Alcotest operator certificates and manuals; the foundational documents necessary before breath tests can be admitted into evidence.

Of the many police departments I have had DWI matters with, they know they will face exhaustive and probing questions from me on cross-examination.

Can we prevent the breath test results from the Alcotest machine from being used as evidence against you? Were you stopped without a valid reason, without probable cause? Can they prove you were even operating the vehicle while you where under the influence within the meaning of the NJ DUI law? Would you be entitled to receive a “step-down” (lesser) sentence if you were convicted, and if you could, how and what would it be? They have to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You can exercise your right to remain silent and not testify against yourself at trial. If the prosecutor can’t prove the case against you, it doesn’t matter whether you may have driven while intoxicated or not — you will be found NOT GUILTY! I am here to protect the legal and constitutional rights you and each of us have, whether you are a citizen of the United States or not. I am here to protect you from potential police overreaching, misconduct, misstatements and exaggeration.

I don’t do real estate. I don’t do wills. I don’t handle accident cases if you are injured. I defend people charged with Driving under the Influence, charged with Crimes and charged with serious traffic offenses that can carry jail, fines, license suspension and more, in the over 500 municipalities throughout New Jersey and in every Superior Court in the State of New Jersey.

Category: DWI In New Jersey