Most people will receive a traffic ticket at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, many simple offenses in New Jersey have very high point values. This could ultimately increase your insurance premiums or suspend your drivers’ license. If you fail to appear in court for a traffic violation or pay the ticket, you could even end up facing arrest warrants and further license suspensions.
For strategic representation on your traffic tickets, license suspensions, or driving with a suspended license charges, contact a traffic ticket and criminal defense attorney. The experienced Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych help protect the rights of people accused of traffic offenses.
Common Traffic Offenses
Most people understand the basics of what you can and cannot do on the road – since it is a general requirement for getting your license in the first place. Often, after years of driving, people forget some of the rules, or their habits take over. This can lead to a police officer pulling you over for your mistake. Even if your driving does not cause an accident, you can still receive tickets that are surprisingly harsh.
Hundreds of dollars in fines are common punishments for traffic tickets, but there are also points assigned against your license for each offense. Traffic offenses are found under N.J.S.A. § 39, the Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations. Most laws related to driving – except DWI offense and homicide by auto – can be found in this section. The individual fines and penalties are found in these code sections, but not the point allocations.
Some of the following are common traffic offenses with high point penalties, for reference:
- Failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk – 2 points
- Racing – 5 points
- Failure to observe traffic signals – 2 points
- Failure to pass to right of vehicle proceeding in opposite direction – 5 points
- Improper passing on right or off roadway – 4 points
- Wrong way on a one-way street – 2 points
- Passing in no-passing zone – 4 points
- Tailgating – 5 points
- Reckless driving – 5 points
- Careless driving – 2 points
- Driving in an unsafe manner – 4 points
- Speeding by 1-14 mph over – 2 points
- Speeding by 15-29 mph over – 4 points
- Speeding by 30+ mph over – 5 points
- Improper turn at traffic light – 3 points
- Failure to stop at flashing red signal – 2 points
- Improper right or left turn – 3 points
- Failure to give proper signal – 2 points
- Improper passing of school bus – 5 points
- Improper passing of ice cream truck – 4 points
- Leaving the scene of an accident – 2 points
- Leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury – 8 points
Some of these offenses could also lead to criminal penalties. For instance, even though reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury are listed as traffic offenses, they can also lead to jail time.
Accruing 12 points on your license is grounds for an automatic license suspension. You can get three points removed from your license for every year you go without another offense, plus there are defensive driving courses, driver improvement programs, and probationary driver programs which can remove two to three points each.
How Can a Traffic Lawyer Help?
There are plenty of problems with many traffic tickets that an experienced defense attorney can challenge. The evidence presented to prove your traffic offense is like any other evidence in court, and it must convince a judge that the offense actually happened. Often, a judge might be lenient on offenses that are close to the line, and simply challenging the offense in court will help your defense. Alternatively, the common wisdom is that you should always challenge a traffic ticket on the off chance that the officer fails to appear in court. This, too, could protect you from the points and penalties on your license.
Other offenses are much more serious. Some offenses can lead to automatic license suspensions under the law, or New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission could revoke your driving privileges. Even worse, offenses like reckless driving can actually lead to jail time. Reckless driving can lead to 60 days in jail for a first offense, or up to three months for a second of further offense.
Some traffic offenses are unfairly charged when they should not be. For instance, careless driving is a catch-all provision that could count in many circumstances. However, it is sometimes charged in addition to speeding or some other offense without the necessary additional elements to make the driving “careless.” A defense attorney can challenge these unfair charges.
New Jersey Traffic Offense Attorney
The lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych may be able to help you avoid the points, heavy fines, and other punishments associated with traffic tickets. Call today for a free consultation on your case at (609) 800-2942.