Is Reckless Driving a Crime in New Jersey?

When a motorist gets behind the wheel, they must adhere to the road rules. When drivers violate their duty of care for others on the road, the likelihood of a car accident increases significantly. New Jersey enforces strict traffic laws to mitigate the risks and keep everyone on the road safe. That said, if you dangerously operate a motor vehicle, you may be issued a ticket for reckless driving. New Jersey takes unsafe driving practices seriously. Therefore, you may be wondering if reckless driving is considered a crime. Please continue reading to learn the potential penalties for reckless driving in New Jersey and how a talented Bergen County Reckless Driving Attorney can help protect your interests.  

What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving encompasses various dangerous driving practices. However, under New Jersey law, it’s defined as “operating a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person’s property.” Reckless driving is technically not a crime in New Jersey. It’s considered a traffic offense. Nonetheless, this unsafe driving practice can result in many harsh penalties. Therefore, this offense should not be taken lightly. The following are some common examples of reckless driving:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Excessive lane changing
  • Improper passing (weaving in and out of traffic)
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Failure to use signals
  • Failure to observe traffic signs or signals
  • Texting and driving
  • Tailgating

What are the Potential Penalties for This Traffic Violation in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, you will face steep penalties if you’re convicted of reckless driving. However, the severity of your penalties will depend on your driving record and criminal history. If this is a first reckless driving offense, you may face the following penalties:

  • Fines between $50 and $200
  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Up to 5 demerit points on your driver’s license

If this is a second or subject reckless driving offense, it may be punishable by:

  • Fines between $100 and $500
  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Five demerit points on your driver’s license

It’s crucial to note that you will face increased insurance premiums and surcharges if you accumulate six demerit points on your driver’s license within three years. In addition, accumulating 12 or more points can result in the revocation of your driver’s license. As you can see, the penalties for a reckless driving offense can negatively impact your daily life.

If you’ve been issued a reckless driving ticket and require quality legal representation, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced traffic violation attorney from The Law Office of Carl Spector. Our legal team is prepared to provide effective representation to shield you from harsh penalties.