traffic violations

Most people hear “traffic violation” and assume they will get a ticket and a fine and then go on their way. While this is true for many traffic violations, some come with more severe consequences. If you receive a more serious traffic violation, don’t feel overwhelmed or defeated. A New Jersey attorney like Matchin can help. He has years of experience assisting clients to get traffic violations downgraded or dismissed. If you have been charged with a traffic violation, don’t wait any longer. Contact Leon Matchin, and he will start creating a defense to help you in court. Read on to learn about five different traffic violations that come with serious consequences.

Driving Under the Influence

Photo by Tom Cleary on Unsplash

In the state of New Jersey, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher qualifies as driving under the influence. If the driver is under 21, they are not allowed to have any alcohol in their system. In addition, according to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, a person can be found guilty of drunk driving (DUI/DWI), even if their blood alcohol content is 0, if they are under the influence of another substance like heroin. The consequences depend on whether the incident was a first, second, or subsequent offense. Penalties include fines, jail time, community services, license suspensions, and ignition interlock devices. 

An ignition interlock device installed in the car is very helpful in preventing DUIs. Before driving, the driver breathes into the device, and if alcohol is detected, the car will not start. It also will have drivers stop periodically while driving to take the test again. 

As of 2019, first-time DUI offenders who had a BAC reading below 0.15% can now avoid license suspension altogether by installing an interlock device on their car immediately. First-time offenders who have a reading over 0.15% will have their license suspended for 4-6 months and then have an interlock device installed for 9-15 months after that. If it is a second-time offense, the license is suspended for up to 2 years, then the interlock device is in the car for 2-4 years. The goal of the interlock is to get people back to driving sooner so they can continue working. It also keeps unlicensed or intoxicated drivers from getting in the car.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

It is a serious crime to leave the scene of a traffic accident in New Jersey. According to N.J.S.A. 39:4-129, “the driver of any vehicle, knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury or death to any person, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close thereto as possible…” Leaving the scene of an accident comes with some serious penalties. If only property damage occurred, penalties include fines of $200-$400, up to 30 days in jail, two points assessed by the MVC, and a mandatory minimum 6-month loss of driver’s license. If the accident involved an injury, the penalties become more severe. The fine increases to $500-$1,000, and the jail sentence goes up to 180 days. 

Driving Without a License

Another major traffic violation is driving without a license. According to N.J.S.A. 39:3-10, “no person shall drive a motor vehicle on a public highway unless the person is under supervision while participating in a behind-the-wheel driving course or is in possession of a validated permit or a probationary or basic driver’s license issued to that person in accordance with this statute.” In layman’s terms, it’s illegal to drive without a license. If you are pulled over without a license, there are several potential penalties. First, there is a surcharge of $100 per year for 3 years. In addition, there are fines up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail. If you have never held a valid driver’s license, the penalties are a little bit different. You will face a minimum $200 fine and won’t be able to apply for a license for 6 months. 

Driving Without Insurance

Did you know that as a driver you must have liability insurance? According to N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2, “owners and operators of registered motor vehicles must possess liability insurance; minimum amounts of coverage are $15,000 for the injury or death of a person; $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person; and $5,000 for property damage.” If you drive without insurance, the penalties are steep. You will owe anywhere from $300-$1,000 in fines and have DMV surcharges of $250 for 3 years. In addition, you will have a year of license suspension, and you will have to complete community service. Often, the consequences of this charge can be more severe than those associated with getting a DUI.

Driving While Suspended

As noted in the previous traffic violations, license suspension is often a consequence. If your license was suspended, you face additional charges if you continue driving with that suspended license. According to N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, “no person whose driver’s license has been suspended or refused shall personally operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension.” Penalties depend on the level of offense. Fines can be anywhere from $500-$1,000, and MCV surcharges for all offenses are $250 per year for three years. In addition, second and third offenses lead to jail time. 

New Jersey Attorney Leon Matchin Can Help With Traffic Violations

As you can see, traffic violations can be a lot more serious than a simple ticket. Fortunately, a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin can help you with these charges. In all five traffic violations listed above, common defenses can help clients have charges dismissed or downgraded. Leon Matchin will carefully analyze the evidence surrounding your case to create a viable defense. If you’ve received a citation for a traffic violation and want legal advice, get in touch with Leon today at 732-887-2479 or [email protected]