TRAFFIC OFFENSES/DWI

 

It is extremely rare in New Jersey to speak to someone who has never received a ticket for a traffic offenses/dwi. Every day we get in our cars to drive to work, to the grocery store, to the bank, or to see our family members. Traffic offenses are common, and tickets are issued by New Jersey police officers every hour of every day. Some of these offenses are simple while others quite complex. It goes without saying that if you are ever accused of driving under the influence in this state, you need an NJ DWI attorney, but we also suggest consulting with a lawyer on every major interaction with law enforcement and traffic court.

dwi new jersey Too often, people will attempt to defend themselves in these types of matters and do not receive the best possible outcome. If you have been issued a ticket for a traffic offense, from DWI to speeding, NJ drivers should not hesitate to call Roberts & Teeter today for a free consultation. Hiring an attorney could be the difference between paying minimal fines versus heavy fines, receiving no points versus multiple points, keeping you from going to jail, and even keeping your license versus having it suspended by the state of New Jersey.

In addition to the information below, it is important to understand that surcharges, courts costs and other fees may apply. A surcharge is an additional fine assessed by New Jersey’s Surcharge Violation System. Basically, drivers who earn excessive points or commit a violation such as a DWI will be required to pay a surcharge. An accumulation of points may lead to not only heavy fines and penalties but surcharges as well. This is why it is important to hire competent legal counsel to handle these types of matters. If you do find yourself and your driving privileges in legal jeopardy, a NJ DWI attorney representing you every step of the way would be an invaluable investment.

PROPER DOCUMENTATION AND MAINTENANCE

UNREGISTERED VEHICLE

N.J.S.A. 39:3-4. Unregistered Vehicle. Driving or parking a motor vehicle that is unregistered generally carries a $47 fine.

UNLICENSED DRIVER

N.J.S.A. 39:3-10. Unlicensed Driver. Driving with an expired license or never having been issued a license will carry a $47 fine.

FAILURE TO EXHIBIT DOCUMENTS

N.J.S.A. 39:3-29. Failure to Exhibit Documents (Driver’s License, Registration, Insurance). Failing to possess your driver’s license, registration, or insurance card will carry a $176 fine per offense. For example, if you are pulled over and do not have any of the three documents, the fines can be up to $528.

UNCLEAR LICENSE PLATES

N.J.S.A. 39:3-33. Unclear License Plates. Driving with license plates that are unclear or obstructed will carry a fine of $47.

DRIVING WHILE LICENSE IS SUSPENDED

N.J.S.A. 39:3-40. Driving While License is Suspended. If convicted of driving while your license is suspended, the fines can be heavy. If the conviction is your first offense, the fine is $500. If your license was suspended for DWI/DUI and you are pulled over while operating a motor vehicle, the penalty will be $500, an additional license suspension will be issued, and imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 10 days or more than 90 days will be given. Upon conviction for a second offense, the fine increases to $750 and county jail time of 1-5 days will be imposed. If the suspension was a result of a DWI/DUI, again, the fines and penalties increase. Upon conviction of a third offense, the fine will increase to $1000 and imprisonment of 10 days will be issued. If the third offense occurs within five years of a conviction for the same offense, your motor vehicle registration privilege will be revoked.

FAILURE TO INSPECT VEHICLE

N.J.S.A. 39:8-1. Failure to Inspect Vehicle. Failing to have your vehicle inspected carries fines ranging from $100-$200.

FAILURE TO MAKE REPAIRS

N.J.S.A. 39:8-4. Failure to Make Repairs. Being convicted of failing to make repairs to your vehicle will carry fines ranging from $100-$200.

REFUSAL AND DWI

NEW JERSEY STATUTES ON DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED

 

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Driving While Intoxicated. Driving while intoxicated is one of the most serious traffic offenses one can be charged with. A conviction for a DWI will permanently remain on a driving record, so if you are unfortunate enough to get a DWI, New Jersey courts will not expunge the record of it. In New Jersey, a person can be charged with driving while intoxicated when they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic drug, or intoxicating liquor. A person will be deemed intoxicated if they operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more. A person can also be charged by permitting another person, who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to operate a motor vehicle owned by him or in his custody. The penalties one can face when convicted of driving while intoxicated are as follows:

 

– Mandatory installation of an interlock device.

Offense Blood Alcohol Concentration Possible Penalty
First DWI 0.08% or higher but less than 0.10% – $250-$400 fines- Detainment for 12-48 hours
– Up to 30 days in jail
– 3 month license suspension
0.10% to 0.14% or influence of drugs – $300-$500 fines- Detainment for 12-48 hours
– Up to 30 days in jail
– 7-12 month license suspension
0.15% or higher – $300-$500 fines- Detainment for 12-48 hours
– Up to 30 days in jail
– 7-12 month license suspension
– Mandatory installation of an interlock device.
Second DWI 0.08% or higher or influence of drugs – $500-$1,000 fines- Detainment for 12-48 hours
– 30 days community service
– Up to 90 days in jail
– 2 year license suspension
– Ignition interlock device
Third DWI 0.08% or higher or influence of drugs – $1,000 fine- Detainment for 12-48 hours
– 30 days community service
– No less than 180 days in jail
– 10 year license suspension
– Ignition interlock device

* If the driver is within 1,000 ft. of school property, or driving through a school crossing, the penalties will be increased. Certain criminal charges may be brought if a minor is a passenger in the vehicle.

REFUSING TO SUBMIT TO A BREATH TEST

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2. Refusing to Submit to a Breath Test (Alco-Test). In the state of New Jersey, any person who operates a motor vehicle on any public road or highway is deemed to have given their consent to the taking of breath samples for the purposes of determining the amount of alcohol in their blood. The sample must be taken with proper procedure and made in accordance with the provisions provided by the state of New Jersey. The sample shall be taken upon the request of a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe the driver was driving while intoxicated.

The state of New Jersey keeps a record of the test, including the date, time, and result. Upon request, a copy of the record shall be given to the person tested. No sample shall be taken forcibly or against physical resistance. If a person refuses to submit, the police shall inform them of the consequences of refusing to submit to the test. If convicted, a person who refuses a breath test can receive penalties such as a license suspension, fines, and referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. First time offender fines range from $300 to $500, second time offender fines range from $500 to $1,000, and third time offenders will be fined $1,000. This does not include surcharges and IDRC fees that will apply.

In order to be convicted of refusing to submit to a breath test, the municipal court shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence:

The arresting officer had probable cause to believe that the person had been driving while intoxicated, whether the person was placed under arrest, and the person refused to submit to the test upon request by the officer. This is an intimidating situation for any motorist accused of DWI, but even more so for a motorist who has also refused to be tested. In either case, an NJ DWI attorney will help you navigate the complex DWI laws in this state. Trying to represent yourself without a NJ DWI Lawyer is not recommended.

MOVING VIOLATIONS

Below is list of common moving violations in NJ. All of these carried fine and many carry points which can increase the cost of your insurance and lead to surchages. The accumulation of more than 12 points on your NJ driver’s license will result in suspension of your driving privileges. If any moving violations are committed in a construction area or a section of road deemed a “Safe Corridor” the Court must double the fines.

FAILURE TO WEAR SEATBELT

N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2f. Failure to Wear Seatbelt. Failure to wear your seatbelt will carry a fine of $45.

OBSTRUCTION OF TRAFFIC

N.J.S.A. 39:4-67. Obstruction of Traffic. Obstructing the passage of vehicles carries a fine of $47.

FAILURE TO OBSERVE SIGNAL

N.J.S.A. 39:4-81. Failure to Observe Signal. Failing to observe a traffic signal, such as a red light, will carry a fine of $81 and 2 points on your driver’s license. There are no points given for red-light camera violations.

IMPROPER PASSING

N.J.S.A. 39:4-85. Improper Passing. Improper passing on the right or off the roadway will carry a fine of $81 and 4 points on your driver’s license.

RECKLESS DRIVING

N.J.S.A. 39:4-96. Reckless Driving. Reckless driving is a serious offense. If you are cited for reckless driving, the fines range from $50-$200, 5 points on your driver’s license, and (depending on the circumstances) jail time of no more than 60 days could be imposed. If convicted a second time, the imprisonment can increase to 3 months, and the fine can increase up to $500.

CARELESS DRIVING

N.J.S.A. 39:4-97. Careless Driving. Careless driving is less serious than reckless driving. A conviction for careless driving carries a fine of $81 and 2 points on your driver’s license.

UNSAFE DRIVING

N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2. Unsafe Driving. A person convicted of unsafe driving will be issued a fine between $50 – $150. A person convicted for the second time will be fined between $100 – $250. If convicted a third time, a person will face fines between $200 – $500 and will receive 4 points on their driver’s license. Subsequent offenses are offenses of this statute committed within five years of each other. A $250 surcharge will be imposed.

USE OF CELL PHONE IN MOVING VEHICLE

N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3. Use of Cell Phone in Moving Vehicle. Driving while talking on your hand-held cell-phone will bring a fine of $100. It is important to note that it is legal to drive while speaking on the phone, but the phone must be hands-free. Texting is also a violation of this statute with a fine of $100. If an accident results of your use of a cell phone while driving, additional tickets will likely issue.

SPEEDING

N.J.S.A. 39:4-98. Speeding. Speeding is probably the most common type of traffic violation heard in municipal courts. Whether the speed limit sign could not be seen, or you were in a hurry, or lost track of your speed, speeding happens. All speeding violations will carry points on your driver’s license as well as fines. If you are cited for speeding 1-14 MPH over the speed limit, the penalty is 2 points on your license plus fines. If you are cited 15-29 MPH over the speed limit, the penalty is 4 points on your license plus fines. Anyone who is cited for driving 30 MPH over the speed limit will face a penalty of 5 points on their license plus fines.

It is important to understand there will also be possible license suspension, additional citations such as reckless or careless driving, and possible surcharges. It is rare, but possible, that drivers that exceed the speed limit by a very excessive speed will face jail time. Fines may be doubled in certain situations such as speeding through a construction zone, safe corridor, or driving 20 MPH or more over the speed limit. There are a few defenses to speeding including the examination of the radar or laser gun used, the officer’s training and qualifications with the device, manner in which the device was used, and possibly the weather. If you have been cited for speeding, do not hesitate to call Roberts & Teeter for a free consultation today.

FAILURE TO USE TURN SIGNAL

N.J.S.A. 39:4-126. Failure to Use Turn Signal. Failing to use your turn signal before starting, stopping, or turning generally carries a fine of $81 and 2 points on your driver’s license. If the offense occurred in a 65 MPH area, the fine increases to $136.

LEAVING THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT

N.J.S.A. 39:4-129. Leaving the Scene of an Accident. Leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious offense. The driver of any vehicle, knowingly involved in an accident is required to stop their vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible. If the result of your accident is only property damage, the penalty will be a fine between $200-$400, 2 points on your driver’s license, possible imprisonment for up to 30 days, and license suspension for six months. If convicted a second time, fines increase to $400-$600, jail time will increase, and your license will be suspended for a longer period of time.

If the accident results in bodily injury or death, the fine will be $2,500 – $5,000, 8 points, up to 180 days in jail, and a one year license suspension. If a subsequent offense occurs, the driver will face permanent license suspension.

FAILURE TO REPORT ACCIDENT

N.J.S.A. 39:4-130. Failure to Report Accident. Failing to report an accident generally carries fines between $30-$100.

FAILURE TO STOP AT STOP SIGN OR YIELD RIGHT OF WAY SIGN

N.J.S.A. 39:4-144. Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign or Yield Right of Way Sign. Failing to stop at a stop sign or failing to yield generally carries a fine of $81 along with 2 points on your driver’s license. If the offense occurred in a safe corridor, construction zone, or 65 MPH area, the fine will be increased to $136.

RACING ON HIGHWAY

N.J.S.A. 39:5C-1. Racing on Highway. Being convicted of racing on a highway will carry fines $100 and up along with 5 points on your driver’s license. If an accident resulting in injury or death occurs, criminal charges may be brought.

Appropriate or not, every single day, motorists are accused of violating traffic laws. Driving NJ streets is expensive and stressful. We pay enough in gas and tolls without having to pay courts hundreds of dollars for traffic tickets. Do not go it alone, let Roberts & Teeter help.

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