Driving in New Jersey – The 5 Most Common Questions about New Jersey traffic offenses, insurance points, surcharges, and driver license suspensions.
Our criminal defense law firm represents persons charged with a variety of crimes and offenses in New Jersey. While traffic offenses aren’t as serious as something like an illegal handgun, narcotic, or a violent felony, they’re nevertheless important to our clients and their families living, working or vacationing in the Garden State. New Jersey has, like many states, has increased police presence during the summer months.
Traffic violations are very common in both states, but it is important to understand that not all traffic offenses carry with them the same penalties. In addition to a fine, many traffic offenses in New Jersey carry with them points, surcharges, and a possible license suspension. Here are the top questions about traffic offenses in New Jersey.
- How do traffic points affect your car insurance rates?
Getting points on your driver’s license as a result of a traffic violation leads to an increase in car insurance costs. Studies show that two (2) points on your driver’s license could lead to a 180% increase in your car insurance rates; much of this depends however on your insurance company, the State, and your driving history. Three (3) points on your driver’s license can increase car insurance rates up to 23% or $658.00 per year. Four (4) points can increase your insurance up to 44% or $1,200.00 per year.
2. Why should you take a defensive driving course?
Defensive driver courses will make things better with your insurance company and save your insurance rates. The discount amount varies based on your insurance provider, but usually it will be between 5-10%. This can save the average driver hundreds of dollars over the years. The New Jersey auto insurance discount is mandatory (See 17:33(b)-45.1). All insurance providers must offer it to drivers who complete an approved course.
3. How does New Jersey assess traffic offense surcharge, license suspensions & removing points?
In addition, the benefit of a defensive driver course is a reduction of two (2) points on your driving record. If you accumulate six (6) or more points on your driving record within three (3) years, you will be subject to a surcharge. This charge starts at $150.00 for six (6) points and increases by $25.00 for each additional point. If you accumulate twelve (12) or more points on your record at any time, your license will be suspended, and you will lose your privilege to drive in the State of New Jersey.
4. Do points ever come off your driver’s license?
To reinstate your license, you will be required to pay a restoration fee ($100.00) and follow steps before you’ re allowed to drive again in New Jersey. You will also have to complete a driver improvement program that cost $150.00 and be subject to a mandatory probationary period.
Three (3) or more points will be removed if you go a full year without receiving any violations. Two (2) points will be removed if you complete defensive driving once every five (5) years.
5. What are the most common New Jersey traffic offenses?
Driving or Parking an Unregistered Motor Vehicle
New Jersey law requires that you register all vehicles that you drive or park. You may also be charged with a failure to notify a change of name ($55 fine) or to endorse your driver’s license ($55 fine).
Driving With an Expired License
Driving with an expired license is also illegal and subject to fines in New Jersey courts. You may also be charged with violating a restricted or conditional license ($55 fine) or failing to possess a driver’s license or registration ($180 fine).
Failure to Wear a Seatbelt
Wearing a seatbelt is a requirement by law in New Jersey. You could also be charged with a failure to use a child passenger restraint if you have a child under eight years who weighs less than 80 pounds ($54 fine).
Reckless Driving is the behavior of driving in a way that is unsafe. It may include a variety of other charges, including speeding or following too closely.
Careless Driving With No Accident
A lot of times, reckless or careless driving charges vary, depending on the outcome of the dangerous behavior. Drivers who are charged with careless driving that did not cause an accident may receive fines and points that are less than if their driving had caused an accident. It’s usually up to the judge to determine the associated fines.
Speeding of 1-9 mph over the speed limit: $85 fine
Speeding of 10-14 mph over the speed limit: $95 fine
Speeding of 15-19 mph over the speed limit: $180 fine
Speeding that exceeds the limit by 20-24 mph: $200 fine
Speeding fines may go up to excessive speeding of up to 39 mph over the speed limit. This leads to points, expensive fines, and the potential for a suspended license.
Our criminal defense law firm wishes you and your family a happy and safe summer. Please enjoy it responsibly!
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