I often get this question when people from surrounding states like Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia or Maryland get a ticket while driving through New Jersey. The answer is, in most instances, depending on the court and the charges, no.
Traffic court judges in Southern New Jersey understand that lots of people get tickets while passing through their towns from other states and often cannot appear in their courts. Doing so would involve a great expense of time and money.
How Can I Resolve the Ticket Without Appearing in Court?
For most traffic matters, you can "plea by affidavit." What does that mean? Well, it means that your lawyer can appear in court on your behalf and negotiate a plea with the prosecutor. For example, he or she could knock a speeding ticket down to an Unsafe Operation or "no point" charge.
You would then have you sign a sworn statement before a notary setting forth the necessary facts for the plea. This then gets sent to the court clerk with payment of the fees and court costs. In effect, you never have to appear.
Can This Be Done with All Traffic Tickets?
This is not to say that this will happen in every instance. Some judges are more strict on what constitutes too far away to appear. If the court is in Camden, across the Delaware river from Philadelphia, and you live in a Philly suburb, he or she may still require you to appear. Others just do not allow it.
It is also not available with more serious charges, like drunk driving. Anything that can result in license (or driving privilege) suspension or jail time requires an appearance.
Thus, although it is common practice to enter a plea by affidavit, and you probably won't have to, you should always assume you have to appear unless your attorney tells you otherwise.
So What Do I Do?
If you live out of state and have received a ticket in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, know that you need an attorney to represent you, and are ready to take action, call my office immediately at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to discuss your matter. It may well be able to be handled quickly and easily without your having to leave your home!
If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's traffic laws, then download my free book, A Guide to Driving Legally in NJ, and Surviving Traffic Court If You Don't.
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