Types of Traffic Offenses in New Jersey

Types of Traffic Offenses in New Jersey

Experienced New Jersey Traffic Violation Lawyer Explains the Types of Traffic Offenses in New Jersey

Careless Driving in New Jersey – N.J.S.A. 39:4-97

This is the New Jersey Statute for Careless Driving. 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.

The penalties for careless driving are 2 motor vehicle points as well as fines.

Speeding In New Jersey – Rates of Speed N.J.S.A. 39:4-98

This statute is more commonly known as speeding. Speeding is broken down into three categories according to the Motor Vehicle Point System depending on how much a person is driving over the speed limit.

  1. If a person is traveling up to 14 MPH over the speed limit, 2 points will be assessed on their driver’s license.
  2. If a person is going anywhere from 15-29 MPH over the limit, 4 points will be assessed.
  3. And finally, if a person is in excess of 30 or more over the speed limit, 5 points will be assessed to your driver’s license.
  4. In addition, speeding comes with fines that are increased if speeding in a safe corridor area, construction zone or a 65MPH zone.
  5. For any speeding case, the state must prove three elements: 1) the defendant was operating the vehicle, 2) the speed limit on that road, 3) the driver exceeded the speed limit.

Reckless Driving In New Jersey – N.J.S.A. 39:4-96

In New Jersey, statute number 39:4-96 is also known as reckless driving. As a result of being convicted of reckless driving in NJ, a driver will receive 5 motor vehicle points on their license. Also a person could face fines of $200 or more, a drivers license suspension and/or a short jail sentence.

Since reckless driving is one of the most serious moving violations in New Jersey, the consequences are also more serious than others. In some towns reckless driving is commonly tacked on to DWI or DUI, and excessive speeding charges. On a second or subsequent conviction a person shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three months, or by a fine not less than $100 or more than $500 or both.

Reckless driving is defined as one who drives a vehicle heedlessly, (which is a gross deviation from the standard of care or grossly improper operation of a vehicle) in a 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.

Unsafe Lane Change In New Jersey – N.J.S.A. 39:4-88

In New Jersey, statute number 39:4-88 is also known as an unsafe lane change, or failure to observe traffic lanes. Or in other words, if a road is separated by clear lanes markers, a driver must only change lanes when there is free space to do so. A vehicle shall normally be driven in the lane nearest the right-hand edge or the curb of the roadway when that lane is available for travel, except when overtaking another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn.

A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety.

Upon a highway which is divided into 3 lanes, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking or passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or unless the center lane is at the time allocated for traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is signposted to give notice of that allocation.

According to the Motor Vehicle Point System, unsafe lane change are 2 point traffic offenses. Conviction of these traffic offenses comes with fines that range from $50 to $200 or imprisonment for a term not to exceeding 15 days or both. In addition if charged with these traffic offenses in a safe corridor, construction zone or 65MPH zone, the fines are doubled.

Failure To Yield To An Emergency Vehicle In New Jersey N.J.S.A. 39:4-92

In New Jersey drivers must yield to any emergency vehicle when that vehicle has its sirens on or lights flashing. Failing to do so will cost a person 2 motor vehicle points.

Where ever a driver is, unless in the middle of an intersection, that person must immediately pull over to the side of the road, or into a different lane so that the emergency vehicle can easily pass them. Being convicted of 39:4-92 also comes with a fine of up to $200.

Failure To Observe A Traffic Signal in New Jersey – N.J.S.A. 39:4-81

This statute is the failure to observe a traffic signal. There are two levels to this statute:

  • Failing to observe a traffic signal and,
  • Failing to observe a traffic signal in a safe corridor, construction zone or a 65 MPH area.
  • Failing to observe the signal will normally cost a person $81 in New Jersey. But if a person ignores the signal in a safe corridor, construction zone, or in a 65 MPH zone it will cost them $136. It will also is a 2 points violation.

The most common example that falls under this statute is running a red light. In addition, saying the light was yellow does not constitute a defense under New Jersey law. Also, this statute also applies to pedestrians as well as drivers.

Red Light Violations in New Jersey- N.J.S.A. 39:4-81

This statute is the failure to observe a traffic signal. There are two levels to this statute:

  • Failing to observe a traffic signal and,
  • Failing to observe a traffic signal in a safe corridor, construction zone or a 65 MPH area.
  • Failing to observe the signal will normally cost a person $81 in New Jersey. But if a person ignores the signal in a safe corridor, construction zone, or in a 65 MPH zone it will cost them $136. It will also is a 2 points violation.

The most common example that falls under this statute is running a red light. In addition, saying the light was yellow does not constitute a defense under New Jersey law. Also, this statute also applies to pedestrians as well as drivers.

Driving While Suspended in New Jersey: If The Suspension Was A Result Of A DWI

This brings up a very interesting and problematic case. These are cases that I have handled in the past. A potential client may come to me, after being convicted of a DWI that possibly was handled by another attorney. Now, they’ve been pulled over and it was discovered that they were driving with a suspended license as a result of a DWI conviction.

They are actually facing jail time at this point. The minimum sentence is ten days and the maximum sentence is 90 days. That is what I would consider traffic offenses with great magnitude. This is because now you are facing enhancements on the time your diver’s license will be suspended. You are looking at a $1,000.00 fine, and not less than 12 months and up to thirty months of additional time your license will be suspended. Also important, you could be facing nine additional insurance points on your license. In New Jersey, that’s what we call a traditional enhancement.

The Point System in the State of New Jersey

There are two different types of points. One is the traditional, for example careless driving, 2 points, reckless driving, 5 points, speeding, depending on how fast you were driving is 2 points and so on. There is a list with the traffic offenses and how many points you can incur for each of the traffic offenses. Most people are pretty familiar with this system, such as receiving points for running a red light or going through a stop sign.

Insurance Points Lead To A Higher Insurance Rate

The other type of point accumulation is receiving what is called insurance points. They are not as easy to figure out and they are based on a different system. Insurance points do not lead to suspension of your driving privileges, but they do lead to a higher insurance rate.

Your License Can Be Suspended For Accumulating 12 or More Points

The discussion about the point system segues back to the discussion of driving while suspended, statute 39:3-40. This is because point accumulation is another way to wind up with a suspended driver’s license. When you reach 12 points, the Motor Vehicle Commission will suspend your driving privileges.

That leads us back to getting pulled over while your license is suspended due to too many points. Now, you’ll be facing statute 39:3-40. This is where the point system becomes very relevant to our discussion of driving while your license is suspended.

How Long Do Points Stay On Your Driving Record?

I believe you get a two-point reduction every year. There are also driving point reduction classes that you can attend, either in person or participate in online.

These classes can reduce your Motor Vehicle points, not your insurance points, however. I believe you can participate once a year to qualify for a deduction, it’s not something you can take every month to try to eliminate all the points.

Driver Improvement Courses Can Lower Your Insurance Rate

Even if you don’t have any points on your license, you can take a Driver’s Improvement course to lower your insurance rate.

If you or a loved one was pulled over or arrested for traffic offenses in New Jersey, contact dedicated New Jersey traffic violation lawyer Carl Spector today for dedicated representation. With over 30 years of experience, he has in depth knowledge of how the New Jersey court system works, and how to best navigate your case to ensure you get the best possible outcome. Call today for a free confidential consultation. Let his experience work for you.

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