If you have received a traffic charge in New Jersey for reckless driving, it is crucial that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. That is because while reckless driving tickets are very common, the consequences of being convicted of reckless driving are not. Police all across New Jersey are cracking down and have been vigilant in their efforts to keep roads safe, which has caused an increase in the amount of reckless driving tickets throughout the state.
We defense individuals throughout New Jersey including Pleasantville, Atlantic City, Atlantic County, and beyond. For more than 40 years the attorneys at the Law Firm of John J. Zarych have represented New Jersey residents in all criminal matters and traffic cases. We offer free and confidential initial consultations. If you are seeking aggressive and strategic criminal defense representation, call us at (609) 616-4956.
The New Jersey statute for reckless driving specifically defines reckless driving “ so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property” Reckless Driving means driving a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others. N.J.S.A. § 39:4-96.
A police officer can stop a car and give you a ticket for reckless driving regardless if you were speeding or not. While this may seem like an unfair standard, because it appears that a police officer is permitted to be subjective, however, this often works in a drivers favor. Often when a driver receives a reckless driving ticket in these instances there may not be proof or evidence that you were, in fact, exceeding the speed limit. Another common example that leads to reckless driving tickets is when a driver follows another driver too closely. Ideally, a driver should allow enough space between their car and the car in front of them so that if the first driver has to hit their brakes for an emergency the car behind them will be able to do so as well. However, it is not always clear exactly how much space a driver should leave between their car and the car in front of them. However, an officer may decide that you were following the vehicle in front of you too closely and that this is evidence of reckless driving.
What are the Penalties for Reckless Driving?
If you are convicted or plead guilty to reckless driving in New Jersey you can potentially be looking at some major fines and penalties. Most drivers expect that they will have to pay a fine for reckless driving, and they would be correct. For a first time reckless driving conviction, a driver can expect to pay a fine ranging from fifty dollars all the way to $200.00. These amounts do not include court fees and assessments that the court may impose. In addition to the monetary fines, a reckless driving conviction can also land you in the county jail. Under the New Jersey reckless driving statute, a municipal judge is permitted to place a driver in jail for up to 60 days for their first reckless driving ticket.
As you can tell, the consequences for a first time reckless driving charge a pretty severe. However, drivers who are facing a second reckless driving charge face even harsher penalties. A second conviction for reckless driving can also include monetary fines. However, unlike a first-time conviction for reckless driving, a second conviction will raise the fines up to $500. Just as a first-time conviction for reckless driving can land you in jail, a second conviction can do the same. A driver who has been convicted of or pleads guilty to reckless driving can possibly face a jail sentence of up to 90 days.
Regardless of whether you are facing a first or second reckless driving charge, any driver who is convicted of reckless driving will have 5 points added on to their New Jersey Driver’s license. This is an often unaccounted for punishment for reckless driving. Receiving 5 points on your driver’s license can raise your insurance over the next several years.
Reckless Driving and Other Offenses
The consequences for a reckless driving offense can be severe on their own. However, one of the main reasons that we always suggest working with an attorney is that reckless driving is often charged in conjunction with one or more other traffic offenses. One of the most common citations that come along with a reckless driving ticket is a ticket for DUI/DWI or for careless driving. However, there are endless other tickets that an officer may give you which can all add up on points and fines.
Careless driving is a commonly confused traffic citation, but is entirely separate from a reckless driving charge. A person who drives a vehicle carelessly, or without due caution and circumspection, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of careless driving per N.J.S.A 39:4-97. While these two charges are very similar the difference between the two rests on the intent of the driver. This can mean that a driver may be charged with multiple charges and potentially face more than one fine and penalty.
Speak to an Atlantic City Criminal Defense Lawyer If You’re Facing Serious Consequences For Reckless Driving
If you are facing reckless driving charges after spending time in the Atlantic City area, the strategic and experienced lawyers of the Law Firm of John J. Zarych can fight for you. We are experienced in standing up to prosecutors and will pursue a legal strategy that is likely to result in the reduction or elimination of the penalties you face. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation for your reckless driving ticket or citation call our firm at (609) 616-4956 or contact us online today.