How can I Fight a Traffic Ticket in New Jersey?
Posted on: February 12, 2021
Even the most cautious drivers can get a speeding ticket. Sometimes speed limits on a roadway are not adequately noted, or a driver is not paying full attention to their speed. Other times, drivers knowingly drive over the speed limit. Whatever the reason for speeding, a citation can be costly. An experienced New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer can help drivers avoid the full consequences of even one speeding ticket.
What are the Penalties for Speeding in New Jersey?
Fines: New Jersey has harsh penalties for speeding that increase the higher a driver goes over the speed limit, as follows:
- Up to nine miles an hour (mph) over: $85
- 10 to 14 mph over: $95
- 15 to 19 mph over: $105
- 20 to 24 mph over: $200
- 25 to 29 mph over: $220
- 30 to 34 mph over: $240
- 35 to 39 mph over: $260
- Fines are doubled when drivers:
- Go 10 mph or more over a 65+ mph speed limit
- Speed in high fatality zones, construction areas, and school zones.
Points: Speeding tickets accrue points on a driver’s license. In New Jersey, 12 points or more will lead to automatic license suspension. Points accrue as follows:
- One to 14 mph over the speed limit = 2 points
- 15 to 29 mph over the speed limit = 4 points
- 30 mph or more over the speed limit = 5 points
Higher insurance rates: A speeding conviction will eventually make its way to a driver’s insurance company. When that happens, the insurer will undoubtedly raise the driver’s premium rates. One study of insurance data showed average premium increases up to 15 percent for drivers with even one speeding ticket.
Surcharges: Drivers in New Jersey who accrue six or more points on their license over three years must pay a surcharge in addition to the fine for speeding. This surcharge is currently $150 plus $25 for each point over six.
Court costs: Some drivers will decide to fight their speeding ticket in court on their own and will need to pay court costs to do so.
What Should I Do if I am Pulled Over for Speeding?
Drivers often feel nervous or even angry when a police or highway patrol officer pulls them over for speeding. Drivers should follow these tips, particularly if planning to fight to get fines or points reduced by hiring a criminal defense lawyer:
- Remain calm and do not make any threatening movements inside the car.
- Be cooperative with the officer, providing everything they ask for, such as a driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
- Do not admit guilt or offer excuses for speeding. An officer will generally ask if the driver is aware of how fast they were going. The driver should answer no.
- Do not argue with the officer.
- Read the citation thoroughly to ensure understanding and accuracy.
- Ask the officer questions if unsure about the citation’s accuracy or next steps.
- Note the weather and road conditions and other information about the location and traffic when pulled over.
- Contact a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer for guidance.
How can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me with a Speeding Ticket?
Some people may think that a speeding ticket is not a big deal. That is not true. Between fines, points, and increased insurance rates, the consequences can add up. Although it can be challenging to get a speeding charge completely dismissed, it is worth contacting a lawyer for help with possible reducing fines and points. Doing so will lessen the impact on a person’s driving record, insurance rates, and wallet. In New Jersey, drivers who get a speeding citation can either admit guilt and accept the consequences or plead not guilty and fight the charges.
Drivers who plead guilty to a speeding charge or other moving or traffic violation should be sure to understand the consequences. They will accrue points for any speeding or other moving violation and will have to pay fines and potentially costly surcharges. Before admitting guilt, a consultation with a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer might be a good idea. A lawyer can negotiate on a speeder’s behalf in court to reduce points or costs, making an admission of guilt less costly and damaging to their driving record.
Pleading Not Guilty
A not guilty plea means a driver intends to fight the speeding ticket in court. With this intention, the driver must pay particular attention to the court date listed on the ticket. The court date is when the driver must either pay the fine if pleading guilty or enter a not guilty plea. Before this date, the driver should contact a criminal defense lawyer. During the consultation, the lawyer can review the case and outline how they can potentially reduce associated fines and points.
With a plea of not guilty, the court clerk will provide the driver a court date. A lawyer can prepare for this court date and for getting charges reduced or dismissed, especially if the driver disputes the circumstances of the citation. A lawyer can also try to have the case dismissed in certain circumstances. They will carefully review the facts and evidence available and could pursue both dismissal and reduction in penalties at the same time.
During the first court date for citations that include points, the prosecutor will generally offer the driver, the defendant, a deal to plead guilty to an amended charge. This is when it is advantageous to have a lawyer for guidance on accepting the best plea deal or continuing to fight the charge in court. Although it may be possible to get points reduced, the court will rarely decrease fines and other associated costs. If a plea deal is agreed on, the defendant will still need to appear before the judge to finalize the terms, penalties, and costs.
Is a Speeding Ticket Hard to Fight?
Speeding seems like a clear-cut issue; either the driver was or was not driving over the speed limit. However, circumstances not always so black-and-white.
There are various ways an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can fight a speeding charge even when an officer has a radar device or other evidence. First, although radar devices are reasonably reliable in detecting speed, they are not infallible. There could be calibration and accuracy issues, or the officer may not have been using the device correctly.
Sometimes authorities make visual estimations of a driver’s speed. Officers can and do make mistakes with this method, especially if they are inexperienced. The ticket itself may be inaccurate, too. Even the wrong make or color of car on the ticket can introduce reasonable doubt about the ticket. There may be mistakes or discrepancies in the police report as well. Evidence from witness statements, a driver’s or passenger’s video, and even police dashboard or body cameras can potentially introduce doubt about the validity of a citation. It is well worth consulting with a lawyer for any traffic citation.
How Long Do Points Stay on a Driver’s Record in New Jersey?
Points stay on a driver’s license forever. It is important to remember that any moving violation can accrue points, not just speeding. New Jersey drivers should contact a criminal defense lawyer for help with negotiating points for new citations.
What if I Live in Another State and Got a Speeding Ticket in New Jersey?
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission will notify other states’ licensing bureaus about the violation. Drivers who do not respond to the ticker per instructions will receive a Failure to Appear notice and may also be issued a warrant for arrest if they continue to ignore the citation.
Freehold Criminal Defense Lawyers at Ellis Law Help Drivers with Any Traffic Citation or Speeding Ticket
New Jersey has severe penalties and fines for moving traffic violations. The Freehold criminal defense lawyers at Ellis Law have years of experience in helping drivers reduce points on their license from traffic citations. Our legal team may be able to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York City.