A New Jersey Traffic Ticket Lawyer Explains Your Options to Avoid Points on Your Record

As a New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer, I have a significant number of individuals reach out to my office after receiving a speeding ticket or a different type of traffic violation in Southern New Jersey. Their primary concern is typically to evade the penalty points on their driving record. A standard solution proposed is resorting to the "unsafe operation" statute. However, it's important to note that this approach, despite its popularity, isn't always the most suitable or effective strategy. Surprisingly, in some cases, it might be more advantageous to accept the points rather than pursue other legal options.

Speeding Ticket vs. No Point Ticket

Speeding Ticket

Let's take, for example, a speeding ticket. In New Jersey, if you were going no more than 14 mph above the limit, there is an exposure of

  • Two points
  • A fine of $50 to $200
  • Court costs of about $33

In most cases, the New Jersey traffic court will levy the minimum fine, so you are looking at $83 plus two points for that speeding ticket.

No-Point Ticket

Now, let's suppose you wanted to avoid those points. If you have not pleaded to an "unsafe operation" in the past five years, then it will be a first offense and have a penalty of the following:

  • A fine of $50 to $150
  • Costs of $33
  • A surcharge of $250

With a minimum fine, that comes to $333 instead of $83. If you have pleaded to this once in the past five years and are a second offender, the fine is $100 to $250, so with minimums, it would be $383.

That speeding ticket would be a cheaper way to go, depending on your driving record.

How to Decide on an Unsafe Operation Plea

If you get a ticket that carries points, you should pull your driving abstract and consider your options. Many times, a simple two-point ticket will not have any significant impact. When looking at your abstract, consider the following:

If you are close to either of these thresholds, a plea to Unsafe Operation would most likely be the best way to go. You should also check with your insurance agent to see if the points would adversely affect your auto premiums. Points can also be removed from your driving record.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

The bottom line here is that in most instances, a couple of points on your license is not the end of the world. You may just want to plead to the speeding and then have the points removed later.

But you should get a lawyer if you already have many points on your record or are facing four or five points for speeding. If you received the ticket in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, or Cumberland County, call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment in my Woodbury office to discuss what course of action is best for you before making any decisions.

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.

Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.