Hawthorne farmers market driver James Woetzel had lengthy driving record, but valid license

The man accused of driving through a farmers market Sunday and killing a woman had multiple driving violations, but they weren't enough to keep him

The man accused of driving through a farmers

The man accused of driving through a farmers market Sunday and killing a woman had multiple driving violations, but they weren't enough to keep him off the road. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

HAWTHORNE - The man accused of driving through a farmers market Sunday and killing a woman had multiple driving violations, but they weren't enough to keep him off the road.

James Woetzel, 48, is no stranger to a courtroom. He has had numerous motor vehicle violations in the last 30 years.  

According to the MVC, Woetzel's license was suspended twice for moving violations, including a DUI in 2002. Since 1984, he's had 20 moving violations, including getting caught speeding seven times.

News 12 New Jersey asked Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli, who has no connection to the case, how Woetzel was still allowed to drive.

"There are definitive hard and fast rules, but there are parameters in those rules that the judge will take into consideration when he hears the case," Batelli says. "He has no discretion as to whether to suspend, but the length of the suspension may be up to the judge."

The longest a driver's license can be suspended in New Jersey is 10 years. That punishment is usually given if a person has had three DUIs within a 10-year period.

The law does not allow the state to revoke a person's license permanently, no matter how many infractions or points a person has.

In Woetzel's case, the MVC says none of his 20 violations resulted in an accident. The longest his license was suspended was six months, after the DUI.  

Woetzel is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. If convicted, he would likely serve time in jail.  Once released, he will go before the MVC for a hearing. The board will determine how long to suspend his license.

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