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.
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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 the most common and most serious violations, along with their associated fines.
|Racing on Highway||$25 to $200|
|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|
|Tailgating||$50 to $200|
|Reckless Driving||$50 to $500|
|Speeding||$85 to $260|
|Improper Passing of a School Bus||$100 to $250|
|Driving While Suspended||$500|
|DWI/DUI||Up to $1,000|
|Leaving The Scene of A Accident||Up to $15,000|
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).
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 (Never not have insurance). The exact increase depends on the violation in question. Below is the average percentage increase in premiums based on some of the more common tickets:
|Violation||Average Auto Insurance Increase in NJ|
|Racing on a Highway||43%|
|Speeding 1 – 15 mph||17%|
|Speeding 16 – 29 mph||26%|
|Speeding 30+ mph||32%|
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 a test to measure blood alcohol concentration||$1,000 ($3,000 total)|
|3rd DWI within three years of last offense||$1,500 ($4,500 total)|
Points: New Jersey has a harsh point system for traffic violations. Most traffic violations are worth 2 points, but some can be worth as many as 8 points. As mentioned, reaching 6 points within 3 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 2 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 3 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 the 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 fight 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 and can rarely afford to give each case much time and attention. That means that the driver has mere minutes to make their case. Unless he/she is fluent in NJ traffic ticket law he/she will 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 the offense occurred, the defendant will be found guilty regardless of intention.
Mandatory Appearance Tickets in NJ
A driver who has been ticketed for an offense in NJ should look at the left-hand side of the ticket for a box with the words “Court Appearance Required.” If this box is checked, the driver must appear in court on the specific date noted at the location provided. In other words, simply paying the ticket online or via mail is not enough; the driver must show up in person. It is advisable in such situations to hire an attorney to accompany one to the court date. While the attorney usually cannot appear in lieu of the client in such cases, he/she can make arguments and present facts on his/her behalf and increase the odds of a dismissal or reduction of the charges.
How to Pay a NJ Traffic Ticket
If the driver decides to simply pay the traffic ticket (not recommended), he/she can do so one of three ways:
- Online at the MVC website.
- In person at the local municipal court.
- By mail, using the address indicated on the ticket.
NJ drivers will usually be offered a lower fine in exchange for paying the ticket without contesting it. This is intended to discourage drivers from challenging the ticket and fighting the charges in court. However, to do this is to accept having the offense listed on one’s driving record permanently, as well as suffering the consequences of points and a sharp increase in one’s auto insurance premiums.
It would be far wiser to send in the ticket with a “not guilty” plea and hire a skilled attorney to help fight the ticket in court.
Failure to Appear for a NJ Traffic Ticket
A person who fails to respond to a NJ traffic ticket or misses a court date can face serious consequences. The court may send a notice of the missed court date with instructions for how to rectify the situation. If these instructions are not followed, a warrant for the driver’s arrest can be issued. The MVC can also be notified and suspend the driver’s license until the matter is satisfied.
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
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About NJ Traffic Tickets
Who Should I Contact?
If you or a loved one recently received a New Jersey traffic ticket or need defense in other areas, contact the attorneys of Rosenblum Law. 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.