Driving in New Jersey is a right, not a privilege. And if drivers face conviction on traffic violations, the state can revoke that right. The careless driving ticket in NJ cost is more than just a financial burden. With court time, potential jail time, and license suspension on the line, tickets carry heavy penalties with them. Working with your New Jersey careless driving attorney can help you understand the charges you face and how best to defend yourself.
What is Careless Driving in New Jersey?
New Jersey Law Section 39:4-97 defines a careless driver as: “a person who drives a vehicle carelessly, or without due caution and circumspection, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property.” The most common cause of a careless driving ticket is speeding. But other traffic violations can also lead to a careless driving ticket. Examples include:
- Excessive speed
- Weaving between traffic lanes
- Sudden braking
- Aggressive driving
- Using a handheld mobile device while driving
If a police officer finds you driving in a careless manner, you will likely be pulled over and issued a NJ careless driving ticket.
What Does a Careless Driving Ticket in NJ Cost?
Getting a careless driving ticket in New Jersey isn’t as extreme as other traffic violation tickets, such as driving while under the influence. But there are some hefty penalties that come along with it. The careless driving ticket in NJ cost includes fines, license points, and potential jail time. If you are convicted of careless driving in NJ, you can expect to face some combination of penalties.
- Fines – The first conviction on a careless driving ticket sees fees ranging between $50 and $200. Subsequent convictions often carry higher financial penalties.
- License Points – A successful conviction for careless driving in NJ will add two points to your license. If you accumulate 12 points on your license, you face driver’s license suspension and your driving privileges revoked.
- Court Fees – If you go to court for your ticket, you’ll have to pay an additional fee for the court. Each court has different fees, so be sure to check ahead of time and bring the additional money with you to your hearing.
- Surcharges – If you accumulate six points or more on your license within a three-year period, an additional surcharge fee could be added to your ticket. Fees start at $150 and increase with each additional license point.
- Increased Insurance Premium – Insurance companies can, and often do, increase premiums if you are convicted of a traffic violation. Your previous driving record and the specifics of your charges will affect how much your premium goes up.
- Jail Time – While careless driving is on the lower end of traffic violations, extreme cases can see drivers facing up to 15 days of jail time. Jail time is not a required punishment (as is often the case with more severe violations such as DUI), but certain circumstances may warrant it if the judge deems it necessary.
Can You Avoid the Careless Driving Ticket in NJ Cost?
Even if you get charged with careless driving, that doesn’t mean you’ll get convicted. By working with your New Jersey careless driving attorney, you can build a strong defense for your case and potentially avoid the costs of a careless driving ticket.
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Getting Careless Driving Tickets Dismissed
In the best-case scenario, drivers can get their charges dismissed altogether, only having to pay court and attorney fees. One such defense is by proving extenuating circumstances. Because the law specifies “without due caution and circumspection,” it’s possible to get your charges dropped if you were driving recklessly with due caution and circumspection.
Extenuating circumstances, such as needing to speed someone to the hospital or swerve to avoid hitting a pedestrian, can prove that the driver, while dangerous, was not careless.
Another method of getting your careless driving ticket dismissed is by arguing against the specific traffic law you’re in violation of. Every state and every municipality has slight variations in traffic laws. If you recently moved or were just passing through and broke a violation because you were unaware it was a violation, you could potentially get your charges dropped.
Lowering Careless Driving Ticket Costs
Even if you can’t get your careless driving ticket case dismissed altogether, there are ways to lessen the penalties you face. Many first-time offenders can take a plea bargain. By admitting to your mistakes and agreeing to make an effort to drive more safely in the future, you can reduce the specific charges you face and the fines associated with them. This can help you avoid license points and jail time and could even lower the financial burdens as well.
Need Help Fighting a Careless Driving Ticket NJ Cost?
If you face charges for careless driving, you don’t have to face them alone. With the help of an experienced careless driving attorney, you can build a strong defense for your case. Attorney Leon Matchin has been helping drivers with their careless driving tickets in NJ ever since establishing his practice. He is dedicated to helping drivers understand the charges they face. He can establish effective methods to lessen or even dismiss the penalties. If you need help with a careless driving ticket in NJ cost, call Attorney Matchin today at 732-887-2479. You can also email him at [email protected] to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.