Getting a traffic ticket can be a frustrating and often confusing time for many drivers. Careless driving is the most common charge drivers in New Jersey face, and careless driving ticket NJ costs can be devastating. Fines and possible license suspension are often doled out as punishments for those found guilty of careless driving. Working with a careless driving attorney, however, can help you fight charges, save on costs, and get out of a careless driving ticket.
Careless Driving vs. Reckless Driving
There are two main categories of traffic violations that drivers can face. The first is careless driving. Careless driving is considered a petty offense and is the lesser of two crimes. A driver is considered to be driving carelessly when they operate a vehicle in a manner that can endanger people or property without due cause. Most police officers will issue a careless driving ticket for any sort of accident or incident without even really checking whether or not careless driving was at the root cause. Because of this, many drivers find themselves facing careless driving charges without any basis for said claim.
Reckless driving, on the other hand, is a much more serious offense. Reckless driving differs from careless driving with regards to intent. A driver is considered reckless if they showed a willful disregard for others’ safety and protection. It’s important to note that while one act of careless driving alone is grounds only for a careless driving charge, multiple offenses in the same incident can be considered aggressive driving, so the driver can be charged with reckless driving.
Examples of Careless Driving Charges
Careless driving charges are often handed out at the scene of any accident because careless driving is frequently the culprit. But this is not always the case. Sometimes accidents are just accidents. However, there are certain actions that can land a driver with a careless driving ticket. These actions include:
- Changing Lanes Without Indicators
- Failure to Yield to Traffic with Right of Way
- Speeding (up to 20 MPH over the speed limit, otherwise it’s considered reckless driving)
- Using a Mobile Phone or Other Handheld Device
- Failure to Obey Traffic Signs
For example, if a driver simply failed to notice a stop sign and ran through it, they could be charged with careless driving. However, if that driver was also speeding or tailgating the car in front of them, they could be charged with reckless driving instead. Careless driving tickets are much more common and much easier to fight.
Careless Driving Ticket NJ Costs
If you are found guilty of a careless driving charge, there are penalties you will face. The severity of your punishment will depend mainly on the act of careless driving and the accident or damage, if any, that resulted from the act. For example, a careless driving ticket issued for someone who ran a red light when there was no other traffic around and did not cause an accident will be less than a ticket issued for someone who failed to yield to traffic and caused an accident.
According to NJSA 39:4-97, the penalties for a careless driving charge include:
- A fine between $50 and $200
- Accumulation of two points added to the driver’s license
- Court costs of up to $35
- A surcharge of $150 for drivers who accumulate six points on their license within a three-year period
- An additional $25 surcharge for each additional point acquired
- Loss of driver’s license once the driver has accumulated 12 points
- Up to 15 days of jail time
While these are only the fees associated with the ticket and the court itself, you’ll also have additional costs to worry about. A careless driving conviction will increase your insurance premium, or you may lose your policy altogether. You may also face additional insurance and lawsuit costs if you were involved in an accident and were found guilty of careless driving.
Getting Out of a Careless Driving Ticket in NJ
Just because you are charged with careless driving doesn’t mean you can be convicted of it. Careless driving is a common ticket handed out that doesn’t always have ground to stand on. Working with a New Jersey careless driving lawyer can help you build a strong defense and fight the charge. While the initial cost may not seem to outweigh the costs of a careless driving charge in NJ, when you consider the increase in your monthly insurance premium and the possible lawsuits associated with any accidents, a defense attorney is well worth it.
Fight Careless Driving Ticket NJ Costs
If you were recently charged with careless driving, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney today. Attorney Leon Matchin has devoted his practice to helping drivers fight careless driving tickets and associated NJ costs. His years of experience and knowledge help build strong defenses and look for ways that your charge can be dismissed. Being convicted of a careless driving offense can seriously affect your life. Contact Attorney Leon Matching today at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected] for help getting out of your careless driving ticket.