Everyday, thousands of drivers make their way across New Jersey following a set of rules and laws designed to keep everyone safe. However, lapses in judgment and mistakes can all end up in laws being broken. This can land you on the wrong side of a traffic violation, with a ticket in hand and fines, points against your license and even jail time as a result. To compound the problem, a traffic violation can cause your insurance rates to go up and even impact your ability to apply for certain jobs.
At Gold, Albanese & Barletti, L.L.C., we are experienced in handling traffic violation cases. We will work to keep the charges against you from piling points on your license and help you avoid lengthy license suspensions and jail time.
The New Jersey Point System
In New Jersey, any type of traffic violation comes with a mark on your driving record and a designated amount of points that go on your license. Note that this is only the case for moving violations, or those where you are actually operating a vehicle, and does not apply to non-moving infractions like parking tickets. Also note this does not take into account DUI laws, which are much harsher and more serious than a standard moving violation. The amount of points assessed against your license correspond to the severity of the violation. Traffic violations are also usually accompanied by fines. The following are some of the more common traffic violations but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
Common New Jersey Traffic Violations
Speeding – N.J.S.A. 39:4-98
Speeding violations come in tiers that depend on how far over the speed limit the driver was going.
- Going up to 14 mph over the speed limit on a given road is worth 2 points will be assessed on their license.
- Going between 15-29 mph over the limit will assess 4 points.
- Going in excess of 30 mph over the limit will get you 5 points.
- Speeding comes with fines, and those fines increase if you were speeding in a safe corridor area, construction zone or in a 65 mph zone.
Generally, the prosecution in a speeding case needs to prove a) that you were operating the vehicle, b) what the speed limit of the road was, and c) that you exceeded the speed limit.
Careless Driving – N.J.S.A. 39:4-97
Careless driving is whenever a person drives without due caution or with carelessness that endangers another person or property. The penalties for careless driving are fines as well as 2 points assessed against your license.
Traffic Signal Violations – N.J.S.A. 39:4-81
Failure to observe a traffic signal comes with a fine as well as 2 points on your license. However, if you are in a safe corridor, construction zone or a 65 mph zone then you can incur additional fines. The most common infraction is running a red light and the statute actually applies to both pedestrians as well as drivers. Red light camera violations do not cause you to gain points on your license.
Failure to Observe Stop or Yield Signs – 39:4-144
This charge comes with 2 points on your license as well as fines. Stop signs require a complete stop before moving through an intersection. Yield signs require a vehicle to slow to a reasonable speed and yield the right of way to traffic on the intersecting road before proceeding.
Failure to Observe Traffic Lanes – 39:4-88
Failure to observe traffic lanes is a 2 point offense that can also come with fines or imprisonment. If a road is separated by clear lane markers, a driver should only change lanes when there is free space to do so. Drivers should stay in the rightmost lane unless preparing to pass another vehicle or preparing to make a left turn. A driver must stay in their lane until they first observe that they can change lanes safely. There are additional fines for violating this statute while in a safe corridor, construction zone or 65 mph zone.
Failure to Yield to an Emergency Vehicle – N.J.S.A. 39:4-92
In New Jersey drivers must yield to any emergency vehicle with active lights or sirens. Failure to do so will assess 2 points to the driver’s license. Vehicles must make all attempts to pull over or switch lanes in order to allow the emergency vehicle passage, unless they are caught in the middle of an intersection.
Reckless Driving – N.J.S.A. 39:4-96
Being convicted of reckless driving is equal to 5 points. This is in addition to fines and potential license suspension and jail time. Reckless driving is operating a motor vehicle in a manner that has a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others and either endangers or is likely to endanger a person or property. This a serious offense and often is added onto DWI charges or excessive speeding charges.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident – 39:4-129
There are two levels to this statute and it is based on whether an injury or death occurred. No personal injury will lead to 2 points on your license as well as fines, jail time and a mandatory driving suspension. However, if someone was injured, then the penalties jump to 8 points, up to 180 day jail time and greater fines. Repeat offenses will also increase jail time, license suspension and fines.
Consequences of Traffic Violation Points
Traffic violations can linger on your license for years and if they add up they can end up costing you a lot. If you receive 6 points within 3 years, you will have to pay what is known as a surcharge. This is an extra fine, charged annually, for having an excessive amount of points assessed to your license.
It gets even worse if you manage to obtain 12 or more points within any timeframe. At this point, your license with be forcibly suspended. This presents a major obstacle to daily life as suddenly getting to work or school or going to the store is a difficult task and often will require inconveniencing others.
The other major issues that arises from traffic violations is that they will often cause your insurance rates to go up. Your violations tell your insurance that you are a risky driver and therefore they will raise their rates to compensate for the potential that you may cost them money.
Dealing with New Jersey Traffic Violations
While traffic violations are unfortunate, all is not lost. Every year you go without a ticket or suspension, 3 points will be taken off your license. You can also help reduce your points by taking a New Jersey defensive driving course, which allows you to bump 2 points off your license. However, you can only do this once every 5 years. This can be a lifesaver if you are about to reach one of the point thresholds. However, with the criminal defense lawyers at Gold, Albanese & Barletti, L.L.C., we make it our aim to never have a traffic violation reach that point. We are well-equipped to defend you against your New Jersey traffic violation charges and make sure you avoid costly fines, jail time and the point system altogether.