The consequences of a New Jersey traffic ticket can be quite severe, including car insurance hikes, points, and expensive fines. Drivers who accrue 12 or more points can have their New Jersey driver’s license suspended. In some cases, a driver’s license can even be revoked.
It is vital to protect oneself by hiring a NJ traffic ticket attorney to handle a traffic ticket case. An experienced attorney has the skills and expertise to get the ticket dismissed or reduced.
The Cost of a NJ Traffic Ticket
Fines. The fine for a traffic violation in New Jersey varies depending on the type of violation. Some can cost as little as $50 while others can run in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Below are some of most common and most serious violations and their associated fines.
|Speeding||$85 to $260|
|Unsafe lane change||$50 to $200|
|Improper passing||$50 to $200|
|Failure to observe a traffic signal||$50 to $200|
|Careless driving||$50 to $200|
|Reckless driving||$50 to $200|
|Driving while suspended||$500|
|DWI/DUI||Up to $1,000|
Court costs. Those who choose to challenge their New Jersey traffic ticket will have to pay court costs of $34. This is in addition to the fine and any possible surcharges (see below).
Surcharges. Drivers who accrue six points on their driver’s license in NJ over three years will be required to pay a surcharge. This is an additional fee on top of the fine for any associated traffic violations. A points-based NJ surcharge costs $150 plus $25 for each point over six. In addition, some violations come with a mandatory surcharge regardless of points. This cost will vary depending on the violation. These surcharges are usually billed each year for three years. Violations that come with automatic surcharges include:
|Unlicensed driver or driver with an expired license||$100 ($300 total)|
|Failure to insure a moped||$100 ($300 total)|
|Driving with a suspended license||$250 ($750 total)|
|Operating an uninsured vehicle||$250 ($750 total)|
|First and second DWI||$1,000 ($3,000 total)|
|Refusing to take test to measure blood alcohol concentration||$1,000 ($3,000 total)|
|3rd DWI within three years of last offense||$1,500 ($4,500 total)|
Auto insurance increases. New Jersey is one of the few states that never remove a traffic offense from one’s driving record. That means that unlike other states such as New York, a traffic offense could potentially raise insurance rates for life. The exact increase depends on the violation in question. Generally, one can expect an increase between 11% and 15% for speeding, and around 20% for serious offenses such as reckless driving and DUI/DWI.
Points. New Jersey has a harsh point system for traffic violations. Most traffic violations are worth two points, but some can be worth as many as eight points. As mentioned, reaching six points within three years means being obligated to pay a surcharge, which increases with the number of points accrued. In addition, reaching 12 points or more in less than two years can result in a suspension of driving privileges, even for out-of-state drivers. The length of the suspension depends on the exact timeframe and the number of points.
- 12 to 15 points: 30 days
- 16 to 18 points: 60 days
- 19 to 21 points: 90 days
- 22 to 24 points: 120 days
- 25 to 27 points: 150 days
- 28 or more points: 180 days+
The good news is that three points will come off of one’s NJ driving record each year one goes without getting convicted of new traffic violations. In addition, one can get two points removed from their license by taking a Motor Vehicle Commission-approved defensive driving course (this can only be done once every five years).
Why Shouldn’t Drivers Represent Themselves?
Many drivers think that they can handle a “simple” traffic ticket on their own. Unfortunately, like many things that seem simple at first, there is more complexity than meets the eye. The prosecutor will undoubtedly be handling dozens of similar cases during any given court session can rarely afford to give each case much time and attention. That means that you have mere minutes to “make your case” and unless you are fluent in NJ traffic ticket law you’ll have a much more difficult time matching wits with the prosecutor. Some individuals believe their best bet is to have a trial and either pray the police officer won’t show up (which rarely leads to a dismissal and requires 2-3 court appearances) or think that offering an excuse or explanation for what they did is going to help. The simple truth is that it won’t. Most traffic violations are strict liability offenses which means that if the prosecutor can prove that they occurred, the defendant will be found guilty regardless of intention.
Serious Traffic Violations in New Jersey
When it comes to traffic violations that can impact one’s license and auto insurance it is absolutely vital to hire a competent attorney to help fight the case. Certain serious violations carry fines that are much higher and some even carry a risk of jail time. The following traffic violations are simply a few of the more serious ones that a driver can be charged with committing:
- CDL Violations
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Intoxicated (DUI/DWI)
- Reckless Driving
For each one of these, the penalties are even harsher than the average traffic ticket and the risk is even greater if one were to attempt to represent themselves in court.
Who Should I Contact?
If you or a loved one recently received a New Jersey traffic ticket, contact the attorneys of The Rosenblum Law Firm. Our team has years of experience fighting traffic tickets, negotiating with prosecutors, and getting the best possible results for our clients. E-mail or call today at 888-815-3649.