Summer is here! Many New Jersey residents are antsy to go on vacation after being stuck at home quarantining this spring. Due to COVID-19, many vacationers this summer will be driving to their destinations rather than flying. Instead of flying to a Florida beach vacation, why not drive to the Jersey Shore? While vacationers who drive may be avoiding COVID-19 exposure, they are more open to getting a traffic violation on the way to or the way home from their destination. If you do get a traffic violation while on vacation, don’t let it ruin your trip. Once you get home, contact a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin to help you handle the charges. Read on to learn about some common traffic violations that occur as people drive to their vacation spots.
Between teleworking at home and bars and restaurants being shut down for the majority of the spring/early summer, many New Jersey residents are ready for vacation. Some are so excited, that they may end up getting a speeding ticket as they rush to their destination. That “pulled over feeling” is all too familiar for drivers who have received speeding tickets in the past. The flashing lights, the siren, the feeling in the pit of your stomach, and the sweat on the palms of your hands is not fun. Here is some information to know about speed limits:
· The state of New Jersey has specific speed limits for certain areas
· 25 mph speed limit – passing through a school zone when kids are present
· 25 mph speed limit – business or residential district
· 35 mph speed limit – suburban business or residential district
· 50 mph – all other locations unless noted otherwise
Having this knowledge about set speed limits can help drivers avoid repeat speeding offenses.
If you are caught speeding, the consequence depends on how fast you were going. Here is a breakdown of the associated license points:
· 1-14 mph over the speed limit – 2 points
· 15-29 mph over the speed limit – 4 points
· 30+ mph over the speed limit – 5 points
In addition, the driver will face fines anywhere from $85-$260 based on how fast they were going. As points add up on your license, you will face additional consequences. Drivers who receive 6 or more points will receive surcharges from the state. Getting 12 or more points in a 12-month period results in license suspension. Points also lead to increased insurance premiums. Additionally, the courts will consider suspending the license when the driver is going 100 mph or more.
Many excited vacationers might follow too closely to a slow car. Unfortunately, this can lead to a tailgating charge. According to N.J.S.A 39:4-89, “The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of the preceding vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the highway.”
A reasonable amount of space to leave between the car in front of you is a 2 second interval on dry roads and a 4-5 second interval on wet roads. Your passengers can help you figure out the appropriate distance. Pick a landmark up ahead like a sign or a tree. Have your passenger start a timer when the car in front of you passes the landmark. Have them stop the stopwatch when you pass the landmark. Check the time and see if you are leaving an appropriate interval of space or if you need to back off.
Tailgating laws protect drivers from getting into unnecessary accidents. Therefore, consequences for violating the law are steep. A tailgating conviction can lead to jail time of up to 15 days. In addition, it can result in an $85 fine (or $140 if tailgating occurred in a 65-mph area or a construction zone) or 5 license points. Other fees/surcharges are decided by the court.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a charge that occasionally happens during summer vacations. Drivers might spend the day drinking on the beach or have a few too many extra beers with dinner. They may suddenly find themselves in an iffy position to drive. If the driver makes the decision to drive, they run the risk of getting pulled over and charged with a DWI. In New Jersey, if your blood alcohol concentration is .08% or higher, you can be charged with a DWI. The associated consequence depends on whether this is a first offense or if you have been charged with a DWI before. However, they include fines, fees, surcharges, license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device on the driver’s car, jail time, and community service hours.
How a New Jersey Attorney Can Help
It may feel overwhelming to get charged with one of these offenses while on vacation. However, a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin can help you through the process. Whether you were speeding, tailgating or driving while intoxicated, the goal is always the same: attempt to get the charges dropped or at least attempt to get them downgraded.
Summer vacation is the perfect time to let loose and relieve some of the stress that has accumulated after months of sitting around at home. With many vacationers choosing driving over flying this summer, this leaves open the risk of getting charged with a traffic violation. Whether you are speeding to your destination or driving while intoxicated after a night out, getting pulled over can be scary. Know that you are not alone! If you or a loved one gets charged with a driving offense while on vacation, give Leon Matchin, a New Jersey attorney, a call at 732-887-2479 or contact him via email at [email protected]. He will set up an initial consultation to learn more about you and your case.