The Law Offices of John J. Zarych provide legal services in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area to individuals charged with severe and criminal traffic offenses. Reckless driving charges are not the same as moving violations and simple traffic citations. Being convicted of reckless driving is a very serious offense compared with other traffic violations due to the severe penalties that accompany this type of criminal conviction.
This type of violation carries with it penalties of not only up to five points on an individual’s driving record and increased auto insurance rates. If convicted, you also will be forced to pay substantial fines and may even face jail time. A reckless driving conviction on your record can jeopardize future employment opportunities and hurt your career and education. Obtaining a seasoned and skilled Atlantic City reckless driving defense attorney can help protect you from unjust fees and penalties.
New Jersey Reckless Driving Penalties
Reckless driving is a serious traffic offense that can lead to severe penalties and even jail time. Under New Jersey’s reckless driving statute, anyone can be convicted for reckless driving if he or she “drives a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property…” The knowing “disregard of the rights and safety of others” is what distinguishes this offense from a careless driving charge, which is less criminal in nature than reckless driving. The penalties for reckless driving are as follows:
- A first offense of reckless driving can result in a sentence of imprisonment in a county or municipal jail for up to a maximum of sixty days, or by a fine of $50 to $200, or both.
- A second offense of reckless driving can result in imprisonment for up to a maximum of three months or a fine of $100 to $500, or both.
Up to five points can be added to a motorist’s driving record upon conviction of Reckless driving, which is likely to result in increased auto insurance rates. In some cases, a judge or the Motor Vehicle Commission will suspend an individual’s drivers’ license for this type of violation.
License Suspensions for Reckless Driving in NJ
Having a suspended license can severely impact an individual’s life in several ways, with the most severe being its effect on employment. Without a drivers’ license, most people would not be able to commute to their jobs, and consequentially provide for their children and families. If an individual is convicted of reckless driving in New Jersey, a judge or the Motor Vehicle Commission will consider the following factors when determining whether to suspend a license under N.J.S.A. 39:5-31 as well as the length of that potential suspension:
- The defendant’s specific conduct, and the risk it posed to damage or harm others or their property;
- The defendant’s prior driving record, taking their age and previous infractions into account;
- Patterns in the driver’s record (whether there was a gap of time free of other infractions);
- Whether the defendant will commit another offense, based on their character and actions;
- Whether the offense occurred because of circumstances that could occur again;
- Whether suspending their license would cause substantial hardship;
- Whether suspending the license will deter future violations; and
- Any other factor the court finds relevant.
Excessive speeding, trying to intentionally elude a police officer, recklessly weaving in and out of traffic, racing on a highway, improperly passing a school bus, dangerously tailgating, and purposefully causing property damage with a vehicle are all offenses which could leave to a criminal conviction of reckless driving in the State of New Jersey. The most common strategy for avoiding this type of conviction is to suggest alternative pleas to convictions of careless driving under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97, improper passing under N.J.S.A. 39:4-85, or obstructing traffic under N.J.S.A. 39:4-67. These pleas carry lesser criminal penalties than a Reckless driving conviction. The plea your attorney will choose to attempt will be based on the circumstances surrounding your conviction.
New Jersey Reckless Driving Defense Attorneys
Retaining a skilled legal defense attorney can help you avoid having your license suspended, as well as avoid excessive fees and jail time. The Law Offices of John J. Zarych will work tirelessly to bring positive results to your case and will fight to lessen even the harshest sentences. There are always alternatives to avoid conviction and our New Jersey reckless driving lawyers have the experience and skill necessary to fight for positive results. If you or someone you know has been charged with reckless driving, please call us today at (609) 616-4956 to schedule a free consultation.