Traffic violations are very common. New Jersey traffic law provides drivers with various penalties when they break the law. Some of these penalties are a small fine, while others are much more serious, like jail time and license suspension. Receiving a traffic violation is not the end of everything. Working with an attorney gives you a chance for your charges to be downgraded or dropped. An experienced attorney like Leon Matchin knows how to create the best defense for your case to see the best results. If you or a loved one have received a traffic violation, don’t wait another second! Contact an attorney today. In the meantime, here are some common traffic violations and their associated penalties.
Allowing Someone to Drive Your Car with a Suspended License
Every driver in the state of New Jersey must have a license to operate a motor vehicle. If you let someone drive your car with a suspended license, you are at risk of receiving a violation. The charge is more severe if the driver had a suspended license due to a DWI or DUI. If you face this charge, you may have your own license suspended. Also, you will owe surcharges to the Motor Vehicle Commission annually for three years.
- You didn’t know the driver had a suspended license: In many cases, the person lending out their car had no idea the driver did not have a valid license. For example, someone might be nervous about sharing their DUI history with a friend or family member and borrow their car without letting them know about their suspended license.
- The driver didn’t know about their license suspension: Sometimes those license expiration dates sneak up on us! The driver who borrowed your car may not have even realized their license had expired. Also, sometimes a license suspension is due to unpaid fines. It’s possible that the driver didn’t know they owed fines, thus didn’t know their license was suspended (ex: bills were sent to an old address).
Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) in the Motor Vehicle
Possession of CDS in a motor vehicle is against the law. Drugs like cocaine, and heroin are all included, as well as prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and Xanax that aren’t in a prescription bottle. Penalties associated with this charge are harsh. Drivers face a mandatory two-year license suspension. Also, the driver will owe fines and surcharges.
- The drugs were not yours: This situation can occur if you share a car with someone. For example, maybe your sibling or roommate also uses your car, and they left the drugs in there unbeknownst to you.
- The drugs are a prescription: You might have prescription drugs in your car that are legal. As long as the drugs aren’t impairing you when the police pull you over, you can have your prescription with you in the vehicle. This could include prescription painkillers, a prescription anti-anxiety drug, etc.
- You weren’t driving: If you were a passenger at the time, you could not legally be charged with possession of CDS in a motor vehicle. You run the risk of being charged for criminal possession of a CDS, but you will be able to avoid the motor vehicle charge since you weren’t driving.
Improper Passing of a School Bus
In New Jersey, drivers must stop at least 25 feet away from a school bus with its flashing lights on. If you pass the school bus while the lights are flashing and children are boarding, you can be charged with improper passing of a school bus. When children and schools are involved, penalties are severe. Consequences associated with this charge include a fine, potential jail time, community service, MCV points, and insurance points. With this type of charge, the goal for the attorney is to have the charges reduced so that you aren’t facing jail time or points on your license.
- Lights were not flashing/stop sign arm was not fully extended: It is possible that the school bus driver did not correctly turn the lights on or extend the stop sign. As a result, the driver didn’t realize they had to stop. A police camera at the scene or a driver’s dashcam can help prove this.
- Couldn’t stop due to an emergency: This is a less common defense, but it can happen! If there was an emergency, a driver might be unable to stop. This could occur if they were driving a sick family member to the hospital or if a woman was going into labor.
Speeding as a New Jersey Traffic Law Violation
Speeding is perhaps the most common traffic violation. The penalties depend on how far above the speed limit the driver was going. For example, if you were driving 15-29 miles per hour above the speed limit, you will receive a four-point violation. If you were driving 35-39 miles per hour (or more) above the speed limit, you will owe a fine of $260 and receive a five-point violation.
- Radar gun inaccuracy: This occurs more commonly than you would think. If a police officer’s radar gun is demonstrably inaccurate, then the charge is no longer valid as it is unknown how much the driver was speeding or if they were speeding at all.
- Speed limit sign issues: This can occur when the road wasn’t adequately marked with speed limit signs or if the signs were covered by plants, trees, or some other type of object. There are set speed limits for different roads, such as 25 mph in a neighborhood and 55-65 on certain state highways. As a result, those rules also apply even if the road wasn’t clearly marked.
Contact an Attorney for Help With New Jersey Traffic Law Violations
Traffic violations are common. Most drivers have received at least one during their licensed years. Fortunately, with an experienced attorney on your side, charges can often be dropped or at least downgraded so that you are facing fewer penalties. If you have broken a New Jersey traffic law and received a violation, seek out the help of an attorney as soon as possible! Contact New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin right away by phone at 732-887-2479, or email him at [email protected].