Traffic Tickets Questions and Answers
I don’t need a lawyer to fight a New Jersey traffic ticket, I am going to do it myself. Is that a good idea?
In short, this is my simple response to this question:
1.) I can often save you points on your license, which saves you money in increased insurance premiums, and surcharges - either by beating the charge(s) through a dismissal or by getting them reduced to a lesser number of points.
2.) I can review your case to see whether there is a defense that you would not have been aware of had you tried to “go it alone.”
3.) I can guide you through sometimes an intimidating court process.
4.) I am aware of many strategies to reduce or have your charges dismissed.
How can I reduce the number of points I have on my New Jersey Driver's License?
After 1 year of no violations, you will have up to 3 points removed from your abstract automatically. You can also have points subtracted for participation in NJ MVC approved driving programs, such as a Driver Improvement Program (up to the 3 point annual maximum once every 2 years.)
(See a list of approved driving programs)
The insurance companies will increase your rates based on the number of points you have. In addition, there are separate points in addition to the official Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), know as "Insurance Points". The Insurance companies will add insurance points for incidents such as a DWI, traffic accidents, and driving without insurance, which will further increase your rates.
No. New Jersey does not issue any work license / hardship license / limited license. You will have to get through the entire period of your suspended license without driving.
I have a Provisional License and I was ticketed for speeding, what can you do for me?
Last year, Governor Corzine issued a directive to all New Jersey Prosecutors prohibiting plea bargaining to “No-Point” tickets for violations committed while driving on a Provisional License. Very simply, if you get a ticket, you will be getting points. Although your options are very limited, there are still ways to handle traffic tickets issued while driving on a Provisional License. A potential dismissal of your ticket or a downgrading of your charges is possible, however, it is a delicate matter that depends entirely on the facts of your case.
I was ticketed for Careless Driving after being in an accident, do I have options?
If you were the cause of a motor vehicle accident that was more than likely your fault (e.g. a rear-end collision), you probably will be issued a Careless Driving ticket. Careless Driving tickets carry 2 motor vehicle points and can cause you to accrue 5 insurance points if you caused damage to another person’s vehicle or other property if your insurance company pays out $500 or more in claims. This charge could trigger a steep increase in your insurance premiums. Careless Driving tickets are can be dismissed or merged with other charges. However, it depends entirely on the facts of the case.
I was charged with speeding over 30 mph over the speed limit, what can I do?
In my experience, most prosecutors have maximum "thresholds" where they are willing to work with me regarding a client’s speeding ticket. Usually excessive speeding, i.e. speeding in excess of 30 mph over the posted speed limit, will raise the prosecutor’s eyebrows. A Prosecutor may not be willing to drop these kinds of tickets in exchange for a “No Point” ticket due to your excessive speed. Moreover, a Municipal Court Judge would not accept a plea to a “No Point” ticket for these kinds of speeds. Excessive speed can lead to other tickets also, such as Careless Driving and Reckless Driving. Moreover, any person speeding in excess of 35 mph over the posted speed limit could face a license suspension. Any person speeding in excess of 45 mph over the posted speed limit will most definitely face a license suspension. A ticket for speeding at 30 mph over the posted speed limit and above is a 5 point ticket. These kinds of tickets can severely affect your insurance rates. Excessive speeding requires a more in-depth review of your case to determine a legal strategy to handle these tickets. Again, each case is different, and your previous driver’s history can ultimately determine what can be done.
I was stopped for Driving While Suspended due to my failure to pay fines and surcharges. What can I do?
A charge of Driving While Suspended (DWS) will trigger a maximum loss of license for 6 months, as well as a $500 fine for a first time offense. A second DWS offense will trigger a maximum loss of license for 6 months, a $750 fine, a potential period of jail, and a potential revocation of your vehicle’s registration. (These penalties presume that your initial suspension was not based on a DUI.) A DWS charge is a very serious matter that requires an in-depth look into the circumstances surrounding the issue. In handling a DWS charge, there are two key questions that need to be asked: 1.) exactly why were you suspended; and 2.) whether you had proper notice of the suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles. There is a significant body of law on what constitutes “notice” in a DWS case. This notice issue can ultimately determine the outcome of your case.
I want to go straight to trial. I am not accepting any plea offers because I am innocent, can I do this?
Yes, you are be afforded a trial for any driving charge. Keep in mind, there are no jury trials for traffic matters handled in the New Jersey Municipal Courts. It is solely a Judge who determines your guilt and sentences you. If you do not choose to accept a plea bargain, you are at risk of obtaining maximum penalties for each charge against you in the event that you lose your case. It takes a detailed analysis of the facts of your case in respect to the law to determine whether the option of a trial should taken, or whether a plea-bargain is the best outcome. This often can be a complex process. That is why I always tell potential clients not to “Go it Alone” in these matters, especially if you are facing jail time or an extended period of license revocation. A DUI charge requires a heightened case evaluation due to the many complex legal factors associated with these cases.
I am going to get my friend the “police officer” to make my ticket “disappear.” Can my friend do that?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard this statement, I would be rich. Once a ticket is issued in New Jersey, it is entered into the ATS system (Automatic Traffic System). Once it is in that system, only a Municipal Court Clerk or a Judge can change that ticket.
Why do Attorneys get to talk to the prosecutor first in Municipal Court?
Because that is the procedure written in the Court Rules.