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Many people who receive speeding tickets or other traffic citations pay the associated fine and try to forget it ever happened. The problem is that New Jersey does not forget about certain traffic violations and pleading guilty to such specific offenses can result in annual surcharges.
Being found guilty of reckless driving, driving while impaired, or other serious traffic violations in Passaic County can result in restrictions on your driver’s license, increases in your automobile insurance and even jail time in certain instances. If you were cited for causing a motor vehicle accident, you could also be facing civil liability for any injuries caused.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall should be your first choice for legal representation after any serious traffic offense in West Milford, Wayne, Little Falls, Clifton, Bloomingdale, Passaic, or Paterson. Our firm is renowned for having one of the largest and most experienced legal defense teams in New Jersey.
Our experienced attorneys and staff of legal professionals and support personnel put the time and energy into developing the best defense for you. We have former prosecutors and public defenders who have decades of experience in municipal and county courtrooms across New Jersey.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has the legal knowledge, experience, and professional contacts needed to achieve favorable outcomes to many traffic cases. We have nine offices throughout the state. Our firm provides a free initial consultation, so you can get a clear understanding of your legal options without any obligation.
What Can a N.J. Traffic Offense Cost You?
Having a drivers’ license is a privilege. You may have your driver’s license suspended and lose your driving privileges if you accumulate too many points on your driver’s record.
Traffic violations in New Jersey typically cost between $54 and $140 depending on the traffic offense. Some violations may result in fines as low as $26 to as much as $500. Certain criminal offenses like reckless driving, driving while intoxicated (DWI), or eluding police may involve heavy fines and jail time. The penalties may be enhanced for repeat offenders.
In addition to hefty fines, traffic violations in New Jersey typically can affect you in two ways.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) adds points to the driving record of any person convicted of a moving violation. A person who gets six or more points within three years on their driving record will be assessed the $150 plus $25 per point surcharge. A person with 12 or more points on their record will have their driver’s license suspended.
Points on driving records can also affect automobile insurance rates. Some of the traffic violations for which points can be added to your driving record include:
- Leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury — 8 points
- Exceeding speed limit by 30 miles per hour (mph) or more — 5 points
- Improperly passing a school bus — 5 points
- Reckless driving — 5 points
- Racing — 5 points
- Tailgating (following too closely) — 5 points
- Exceeding speed limit by 15-29 mph — 4 points
- Driving in an unsafe manner (third or subsequent offense within five years) — 4 points
- Improper passing — 4 points
- Improper right, left, or U-turn — 3 points
- Improper turn at a traffic light — 3 points
- Exceeding speed limit by 1-14 mph — 2 points
- Moving violation committed out-of-state — 2 points
- Wrong way on a one-way street — 2 points
- Leaving the scene of an accident with no personal injury — 2 points
- Careless driving — 2 points
- Failure to observe traffic signals — 2 points
- Failure to observe (stay within) traffic lanes — 2 points
- Failure to yield at an intersection — 2 points
- Passing a vehicle yielding to pedestrian in a crosswalk — 2 points
- Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk — 2 points
The MVC takes three points off your record for every year that you drive without a new traffic violation. Drivers with 12 to 14 points in over two years can pay to take the Driver Improvement Program classroom course instead of a 30-day driver’s license suspension and also get three points taken off of their records.
People can have two points removed once every five years after completing MVC-approved defensive driving courses.
The New Jersey Surcharge Violation System (NJSVS) assesses fines called surcharges on an annual basis to drivers who have excessive points for traffic violations or have been convicted of specific crimes. Surcharges must be paid for three years in addition to any court fines and penalties.
Annual surcharges may include:
- $150 plus $25 per point for accumulating six or more points on your driver’s license within three years
- $1,500 for a third DWI within three years of a previous offense ($4,500 total)
- $1,000 for refusal to take a test to measure breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) ($3,000 total)
- $1,000 for first and second convictions of driving while intoxicated (DUI) ($3,000 total)
- $250 for operating a vehicle without auto liability insurance ($750 total)
- $250 for driving with a suspended license ($750 total)
- $100 for being an unlicensed driver or driving with an expired license ($300 total)
- $100 for failure to insure a moped ($300 total)
When you do not make surcharge payments, the consequence will be a suspension of your driver’s license. Getting a driver’s license back will cost $100 plus payment of unpaid surcharges. Failure to pay surcharges can lead to a Superior Court judgment that allows the state to collect unpaid surcharges, usually through a collection agency that assesses additional costs and interest charges.
Depending on the case, our skilled attorneys may negotiate with the prosecutor and help you get a serious traffic offense charge reduced to a less serious infraction. That can help you avoid substantial penalties and points on your driver’s license.
New Jersey Traffic Offenses Our Law Firm Handles
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have handled traffic offenses as public defenders, prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys. We’ve successfully handled a wide range of traffic violations, including:
- Parking Tickets
- DWI / Drunk Driving
- Speeding Tickets
- Reckless Driving
- Driving Without Insurance
- Eluding Law Enforcement
- Driving While License Suspended/Revoked
- Failure to Report an Accident
- Failure to Stop for an Accident
- Traffic Offenses in Federal Court
- Out-of-State Traffic Charges
If you’ve been cited for a traffic violation, call the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. We can evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action to protect your driving privileges. Depending on the circumstances, we may challenge specific evidence related to how you were cited or arrested. We’ll seek to have the violation reduced, or possibly dropped altogether.
How We Can Help You with a N.J. Traffic Offense
The Municipal Court in the municipality where either the ticket was issued or the arrest was made will hear the traffic offense case. If you plead not guilty, the prosecutor will have to prove that you committed a violation beyond a reasonable doubt, the highest possible criminal standard, including proof of operation of the vehicle. The prosecutor typically tries to establish “intent” by offering evidence that the defendant put the keys to the vehicle in the ignition or that the vehicle’s engine was running.
You have the right to a defense attorney. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will conduct an independent investigation to determine the best possible defense to the charges that you are facing. Our defense attorneys have established professional relationships with prosecutors who handle traffic cases. That allows us to negotiate effectively on behalf of our clients. Drivers who have clean records are more likely to have their charges reduced or dismissed. Cases can be thrown out if there is a flaw in the prosecution’s case.
When charges cannot be dismissed, they may still be reduced such that the only penalty is a fine. Another alternative to dismissal is Conditional Discharge, a kind of probation program in New Jersey. You may be eligible for a conditional discharge if you have no previous conviction or prior diversion on your record and have not been charged with any disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under New Jersey’s Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1987.
To obtain a Conditional Discharge, you must maintain a clean record and not be arrested for any new offenses within one year. You also must comply with other requirements during this period, such as payment of fines and court costs. Your original charge will be removed from your record if you successfully complete the probationary period.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall also may be able to get traffic offenses dismissed because of failure to advise a person of their Miranda rights, lack of probable cause, unreliable or unavailable witnesses, or mistaken identity.
Meet with Our New Jersey Traffic Offense Lawyers
If you were issued a traffic ticket in Paterson, Passaic, Bloomingdale, Clifton, Little Falls, Wayne, or West Milford, you need to know that you have the right to legal counsel. Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have decades of experience handling all kinds of traffic violations and helping people achieve the most favorable outcomes.
Do not just pay a fine and pretend your violation never happened, because the next violation could then end up costing you big bucks. Contact any one of our nine locations to take advantage of a completely free initial consultation.